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Award-Winning Light Bulb Earns $10 Million Prize

Philips Lighting North America has won an inaugural energy efficiency award and a corresponding $10 million prize from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for innovation in energy-efficient lighting.

Philips won the 60-watt replacement bulb category of the inaugural Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize, or L Prize, with a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb. To win, a bulb needed to generate 900 lumens — the same brightness as a 60-watt incandescent bulb — but consume less than 10 watts, giving the winner an efficiency of 90 lumens or more per watt. Additionally, the winning bulb needed to have a lifespan of over 25,000 hours, which equates to 17 years of life at four hours of use a day.

Over 18 months, the Philips LED bulb excelled through several rigorous tests and field studies conducted by independent laboratories, utilities and other L Prize partners. Tests included extreme conditions such as high and low temperatures, humidity, vibration, high and low voltage and various electrical waveform distortions.

The prize-winning Philips LED is almost 75 percent more energy efficient than the current 60-watt LED replacements that Philips sells in stores now. Those LEDs have an efficiency of about 67 lumens per watt, which puts them in the same category as ENERGY STAR–certified compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs.

The L Prize was launched in 2008 to challenge the lighting industry to develop high-performance, energy-saving replacements for conventional light bulbs that can help U.S. consumers and businesses save money off electric bills. The 60-watt replacement category, the first category DOE put up for competition, was targeted because it represents one of the most widely-used segments by consumers, making up roughly half of the U.S. light bulb market. In the U.S. alone, about 425 million 60-watt light bulbs are sold each year. According to DOE, the 60-watt segment offered the greatest opportunity for saving energy.

As the first entrant in the 60-watt category to meet all of the L Prize competition requirements, Philips will receive a $10 million cash award and L Prize promotions and incentives from 31 public utilities and energy efficiency program partners that will help promote and develop markets for the LED. DOE said that up to two additional entrants who meet the prize requirements would be eligible for program partner promotions.

Philips said it expects its prize-winning 60-watt LED replacement bulbs to hit store shelves as early as next year.


DOE Announces Philips as First Winner of the L Prize Competition,” U.S. Department of Energy press release, Aug. 3, 2011.

Philips Brings Home 'L Prize' with Efficient LED Lamp,” CNET, Aug. 3, 2011.

8/24/2011 8:07:00 AM