General Electric is going to phase out the CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulb in favor of the LED that’s slowly but surely becoming the standard.
If you don’t know them by name, you definitely know the CFL by its distinct look — that swirly, funky-looking light bulb with the slow-to-brighten, yellowish light. It wasn’t so long ago that the CFL was the light bulb of choice for those looking to save energy and money and make their homes more energy-efficient.
But as the light and quality of other options such as LEDs and halogen incandescents has improved, and the cost of LEDs has come down considerably, CFLs have been in a bit of a decline. Now, GE says it will stop making and selling the bulbs in the U.S. by the end of the year.
The company broke the news in a Valentine’s Day-themed “Dear John” letter full of clever “light” puns declaring LED its new love and saying, “CFL, I’ll always remember your sweet spiral shape and the way you could light up a room.”
“CFL bulbs are the bulbs everyone loves to hate,” Daraius Patell, general manager of consumer lighting at GE, said in an email to NBC News. “Consumers had to make a compromise for energy efficiency and complained CFL light was too harsh, didn’t work with dimmers, flickered and took too long to warm up and light a room. With LED bulbs, there is no compromise.”
LED prices have declined dramatically since they were first introduced five years ago at about $50 per bulb. Today, a 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb sells for less than $5, which helped boost LED sales 250 percent last year.
LEDs now account for 15 percent of the 1.7 billion bulbs sold annually in the United States. GE expects that by 2020, LEDs will be used in more than 50 percent of U.S. light sockets.