Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vu1 Poised to Make a Lighting Splash December 1

For those missing my earlier Vu1 post, Vu1 offers an innovative lighting technology that looks well positioned to compete with LED and CFL technologies. Their technology, called ESL, hits a sweet spot in terms of light quality, efficiency, price, and expected life. ESL shine especially bright when it comes to light quality, with color temperature and dimability equal to incandescents.

Vu1 had promised to send me a first generation R30 test bulb for me to evaluate on my site. Unfortunately, it never happened. And in following the company, there have been a number of disappointments in terms of meeting delivery dates.

However, it looks like they are poised to turn things around, having announced a major agreement with Lowes to sell the R30 bulb in their stores for $14.98 each. That price easily beats LEDs, and offers a competitive option to CFLs.

Here is the most important quote from the Business Week report on the press release: "Vu1’s bulb, which can be dimmed, will sell at $14.98, according to a company statement. While that exceeds the $12-to- $13 cost of a comparable dimmable compact fluorescent bulb, it lasts longer, is mercury-free and produces every wavelength of light, the CEO said. Lowe’s will sell the bulb online from Dec. 1 and in its stores from February, according to the statement."

Further, Vu1 has received UL certification for an A19 lightbulb. The R30 bulb is a flood light bulb, which is more an more common in new homes. My house, recently remodeled, had 36 R30 fixtures, for example. The A19 is the traditional lamp bulb. Between the two, they should offer a compelling product line.

Back to my house - all but two of the 36 R30 fixtures are attached to a dimmer switch. Given CFLs limitations for dimming (even the 'dimmable' ones aren't great), this limits me to incandescent, halogen, LED, or Vu1's ESL. LEDs are still too expensive, and light quality isn't where it needs to be at the more affordable end of the spectrum. Halogen and incandescent are not great for as expensive as energy is in California. That places ESL at the top of my list.

Readers - when Vu1 bulbs show up at your local Lowes, give them a try, and report back here what you think!

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