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CES: Switch pitches high-tech bulbs for clean lighting

Non-toxic bulbs last 25,000 hours
Wed Jan 11 2012, 20:27
Switch 60 LED bulb

SILICON VALLEY STARTUP Switch is hoping to sell businesses on the benefits of light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs.

The company said that its line of liquid-cooled LED bulbs offers all the lighting qualities of incandescent bulbs while delivering longer life and better performance than compact flourescent light (CFL) bulbs.

The Switch LED light bulbs, which fit into a standard socket, use a non-toxic liquid cooling system to draw heat from the LED light source. Additionally, the design of the bulb itself draws away heat, allowing the bulbs to overcome orientation restrictions placed on previous LED light designs.

Unlike CFL bulbs, the Switch LED light bulbs do not require startup time to reach full brightness and do not contain any mercury or other toxic chemicals. When the LED bulbs are spent after their estimated six to seven year lifespan, the company asks that users ship them back for recycling.

Switch chief strategy officer Brett Sharenow said that the company's aim was to create a long-life bulb that could replicate the lighting quality and dimming flexibility of conventional incandescent lights preferred by many businesses.

Priced at around $30 each at present, the LED light bulbs are expected to drop in price to $20 or less within the year.

"The big thing about this bulb is it uses 80 per cent less energy than an incandescent," Sharenow explained.

"In commercial applications in general, they really would like to get back to the light quality that you get from an incandescent bulb."

In addition to the savings from reduced power consumption, Switch also sees businesses saving on maintenance costs. By adding years onto the lifespan of a bulb, customers can reduce the time spent replacing light fixtures.

The LED light bulbs are presently available only for the US 120-volt system, but the company plans to release versions of the bulbs suited for use in the UK and Europe by the end of 2012. Sharenow believes the bulbs will be a particular hit in the UK, where energy costs are as much as double those in the US.

"For a commercial application, the payback is about six months," he said. "To commercial users, it is a no-brainer." µ


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