Now you, too, can own an L-Prize LED bulb

Consumers can now own an LED-based bulb that has the equivalent of a 60-W incandescent bulb's lumen output. The vaunted DOE L-Prize winner from Philips, now given the catchy name of 10A19/LPRIZE-PRO/2700-900 DIM 10/1, goes on sale this month.

The catch: It will set you back $50.

The price, of course, will drop over time. A little-known fact about the prize-winning bulb: It is not Energy Star qualified! At least not yet. Philips says the bulb is still undergoing its Energy Star tests and should complete them in the second quarter. (Energy Star tests involve lumen maintenance life testing of the bulbs. Even accelerated tests take awhile to complete when the bulb is still burning brightly after 25,000 hours of operation, as in the L-Prize winner's case.)

The bulb is listed as putting out 900 lumens -- actually closer to the output of a 75-W incandescent than to a 60-W bulb. It also has a 2700°K warm white color and consumes a mere 10 W.

Last month, the DOE and Philips hosted a webinar that provided more details about the bulbs. The L-Prize winners should last a long time if DOE tests are any indication. A DOE spokesperson says the agency continues to monitor 200 lamps that have now been running 12,000 hours at an elevated temperature of 45°C. So far, no lamp failures. By extrapolating test data, DOE estimates lumen maintenance at 99.3% of initial output after 25,000 hours of operation, much better than the 70% spelled out in L Prize requirements. Bulb color maintenance also greatly exceeds the L-Prize requirements.

L-Prize entries also had to undergo stress tests that included exposure to temperature extremes, vibration, and dirty power input. None of the Philips prize-winning lamps failed. Interestingly, the DOE also put some high-quality compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps through the same tests. Every CFL failed.

It also turns out that the samples tested for the L Prize submission differ slighting from those that Philips will put into production. The commercial lamp has three rather than four optical segments and uses fewer LEDs. The reason, says Philips, is that LED technology has progressed a bit even since the end of the contest.

Philips L Prize bulb spec sheet: download pdf

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