Big 20: Light Bulb Efficiency
Twenty years ago most American homes were lit by incandescent light bulbs, the kind Thomas Edison perfected over a hundred years ago. They were simple and cheap to make but not very energy efficient. Ten years ago compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) began replacing them. A thirteen watt CFL could put out the same 800 lumens of light as a sixty watt incandescent bulb. Today a light emitting diode (LED) bulb uses only nine watts. To reach these efficiencies, both CFLs and LEDs use semiconductor technology that Edison never imagined. The web allows for smart grid, real-time, remote monitoring and control of lighting from wireless devices resulting in even greater efficiency.
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