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New bulb ushers in 100-watt-like LED light

An energy-sipping LED light bulb that gives off the equivalent brightness and color of the standard – but being phased out – 100-watt incandescent bulb has hit the consumer market, Osram Sylvania announced Monday. 

The new bulb has similar shape, brightness and glow of a 100-watt incandescent bulb, but consumes only 20 watts of electricity. It provides up to 25,000 hours of light, which is 25 times longer than the bulbs it is designed to replace.

The new bulb retails for just under $50. That’s expensive compared to incandescent bulbs, which are being phased out but still available from some stores for less than $1 each. 

The longer-lasting LED offers a savings of $220 over its life compared to an incandescent bulb, assuming average electricity rates of $0.11 per kilowatt hour.

The new bulb is part of Osram Sylvania’s Ultra LED A-line series of bulbs, which also includes substitutes for 40, 60 and 75 watt incandescent bulbs. 

The 100-watt equivalent bulb’s release is a milestone in the transition to energy efficient lighting as it may appeal to consumers who are unsatisfied with the look, light quality, or mercury content of 100-watt equivalent compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs that have been on the market for several years.

CFLs cost much less than LEDs, which may limit adoption of the new bulbs. Osram Sylvania’s 100-watt equivalent CFL retails for about $20 for pack of 6, for example. They consume 23 watts and provide up to 12,000 hours of light.

But the longer-life of LEDs and light quality will make them attractive to some consumers. The lack of mercury, which all CFLs contain, is also a plus for anyone concerned about mercury pollution.

While Osram Sylvania is first to market with a 100-watt equivalent LED, other lighting companies are on its heels. Phillips will have one in stores next month, MIT Technology Review notes. GE and startup Switch are expected to unveil models as well in the coming months.

 – via Technology Review 

John Roach is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.