The latest fruits of Cree’s ongoing effort to instigate what it calls “the LED revolution” went on sale Friday at Best Buy stores nationwide.
The electronic retailer’s new LED light bulbs, sold under its Insignia store brand, boast that they’re “Powered by Cree,” meaning Cree LEDs are the light source. Paul Scheidt, product marketing manager for the Durham-based company, said the new generation of LEDs Cree launched earlier this year, which deliver more light at less cost, made the Insignia bulbs possible.
“Just last year ... you would have paid twice as much for a (bulb) that put out half the light,” said Scheidt.
That doesn’t mean that the Insignia bulbs are cheap, however. The price tag for the equivalent of a 40-watt bulb is $13.99; the 60-watt equivalent is $16.99.
But the 60-watt equivalent will burn up just $1.57 worth of electricity in a year if used for three hours a day – roughly $6 less than an incandescent bulb, Scheidt said.
The bulb comes with a 10-year warranty and is expected to last 22.8 years, based on three hours of use daily.
“It’s a higher quality and longer-lasting product than even the compact fluorescent things that are out there today,” Scheidt said. Unlike compact fluorescents, he added, the Insignia bulbs go to full brightness immediately when they are turned on.
The Insignia bulbs resemble an incandescent bulb in terms of the amount of light emitted and their ability to “spread the light around” evenly, Scheidt said. Their appearance also is similar.
“It looks white. It looks a lot like a normal light bulb does, even when it’s off,” he said. “There’s been a complaint with some of the products that have been on the shelves – they’re yellowish in appearance when they’re off.”
Best Buy, a chain that has been struggling, is selling the Insignia bulbs at its 1,000 stores nationwide and on its website.
Scheidt said Best Buy has sold energy-efficient lighting on its websites before but hasn’t made shelf space available for them until now. He noted that the timing of the product launch means the Insignia bulbs made it into stores in time for the influx of holiday shoppers.
Cree produces indoor and outdoor LED light fixtures as well as components other companies use in their lighting products. The company has 5,500 employees worldwide, including 2,335 in the Triangle.
Cree has been focusing mostly on the commercial lighting market, the exception being the recessed ceiling lights sold by Home Depot that are also “Powered by Cree.” Scheidt hinted that more consumer products are on the way.
“It will be easier for you to find and locate products that have Cree LEDs inside of them in the future,” he said.