GE Consumer and Industrial's Lighting division today announced advancements to the light bulb invented by GE's founder, Thomas Edison, that potentially will elevate the energy efficiency of this 125-year-old technology to levels comparable to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), delivering significant environmental benefits. Over the next several years, these advancements will lead to the introduction of high-efficiency incandescent lamps that provide the same high light quality, brightness and color as current incandescent lamps while saving energy and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The new high efficiency incandescent (HEIā„¢) lamp, which incorporates innovative new materials being developed in partnership by GE's Lighting division, headquartered in Cleveland, OH, and GE's Global Research Center, headquartered in Niskayuna, NY, would replace traditional 40- to 100-Watt household incandescent light bulbs, the most popular lamp type used by consumers today. The new technology could be expanded to all other incandescent types as well. The target for these bulbs at initial production is to be nearly twice as efficient, at 30 lumens-per-watt, as current incandescent bulbs. Ultimately the high efficiency lamp (HEI) technology is expected to be about four times as efficient as current incandescent bulbs and comparable to CFL bulbs. Adoption of new technology could lead to greenhouse gas emission reductions of up to 40 million tons of CO2 in the U.S. and up to 50 million tons in the EU if the entire installed base of traditional incandescent bulbs was replaced with HEI lamps.

Kevin Nolan, vice president of technology for GE Consumer and Industrial, says, "In addition to offering significant energy savings comparable to CFLs, the 21st century version of Edison's bulb provides all the desirable benefits including light quality and instant-on convenience as incandescent lamps currently provide at a price that will be less than CFLs. We and other lighting manufacturers have been aggressive in developing and marketing CFLs. But consumers want more options and we plan to respond to their needs and deliver environmental benefits, too. It's important that we offer consumers a full range of products that meet their personal desire to reduce their negative impact on the environment while preserving their ability to pick the best lighting product for their needs. That's why we are moving aggressively to commercialize these new lamps."

GE's announcement was made in conjunction with its decision to support legislation in the EU, the US, and in other areas that would accelerate the introduction of all types of high efficiency lighting products as part of the global effort to promote energy security and reduce emission of greenhouse gases. GE's HEI lamps would support attainment of the objectives of the European Commission's Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which aims to reduce Europe's energy consumption 20% by the year 2020.