February 18, 2009 Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are a smaller version of their long established big brothers which, despite some drawbacks such as a small amount of mercury content, have gained serious ground in recent years as an energy-efficient alternative to conventional incandescent globes. CFLs reduce carbon emissions because they convert electricity into light more efficiently and also last up to ten times longer, but the globe still reaches its used by date long before the base (ballast) section that connects it to the power socket. 3E Technologies has identified this as another wasteful aspect of the process that could be eliminated and its solution is the Smart Lite - a two-piece CFL which allows the bulb to be removed from the ballast and replaced with a simple ‘insert and twist’ operation.

The Smart Lite CFL lasts around 8,000 hours (approximately ten times that of incandescent bulbs) and have an efficiency of 65 lumens per watt, which is a high figure even for CFLs which generally run at about 40 lumens per watt according to the manufacturer. Incandescent lamps come in at about 8 to 17 lm/W.

This efficiency reaps rewards. It's been estimated that replacing a single incandescent bulb with a CFL will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over its lifetime, but each time we throw out a CFL, we needlessly dispose of an expensive electronic ballast that's still in working order.

With the interchangeable system, the Smart CFL ballast, which has a 40,000 hour life, can be used throughout the life of about five Smart Lite bulbs. The benefits of this are seen as offsetting what must has to be a slightly more complex production process (i.e. producing two separate, interlocking pieces).

The idea in a nutshell - less waste with fewer emissions and money saved.

For further information on Smart Lite bulbs see 3E Techonologies, Inc.

Karen Sprey