North Carolina-based Cree Inc. may have hit on the LED that could coax more Americans towards greater energy efficiency…and they did it by making it look and perform like an incandescent light bulb. Their TW 60- and 40-watt bulbs are the first to meet voluntary California standards for LEDs, which require them to score 90 or better on the Color Rendering Index (where 100 approximates natural light). Reaching this mark also allows Cree to offer their bulbs to California customers at much more affordable prices.
What’s the Big Idea?
Advances in energy-saving lighting technology haven’t exactly been greeted with the enthusiastic response officials and manufacturers had hoped: In California alone, 80 percent of light bulbs used are still incandescents. Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda says that’s why they took consumers’ comfort level into account when designing their product: “With light bulbs, you literally have 130 years of consumer expectation around a form factor…We realized you could either spend years trying to convince people to try something different or flip the problem around and give all the benefits in the same package.”