Latest hybrid, this one's a bulb: halogen-CFL

With the upcoming ban on inefficient incandescent bulbs, manufacturers are coming up with ways to hit efficiency targets that don't involve expensive LEDs or problematic CFLs. The latest attempt is a hybrid halogen-CFL contained in an incandescent-shaped glass bulb. GE says its Energy Smart Soft White and Reveal hybrid halogen-CFL bulbs will brighten the lighting aisles of mass retail, hardware and big box stores nationwide in the weeks leading up to Earth Day 2011 (April 22).

This new hybrid-halogen CFL, as its name implies, puts an instantly bright halogen capsule inside the swirl of a compact fluorescent light bulb. The halogen element comes on instantly and turns off once the CFL comes to full brightness, thus preserving the energy efficiency of the bulb. All the workings of the bulb reside in an incandescent-shaped glass bulb.

GE says the new bulbs offer eight times the life of incandescent bulbs (8,000 hrs vs. 1,000 hrs). The new products are 15- and 20-W GE Energy Smart Soft White (2700 Kelvin) and Reveal (2500 Kelvin) CFLs. They contain about 1 mg of mercury and can replace standard 60- and 75-W incandescent bulbs or other CFLs where lack of instant brightness is an issue.

GE points out that retailers set prices but says customers could expect to pay $5.99-$9.99 based on product line and wattage.

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