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Three LED lighting pioneers share Nobel physics prize

Image of LED bulb surrounded by many incandescent light bulbs

LEDs hugely popular in British Columbia; Save on LED lighting this Offtober

Posted by Rob Klovance

BC Hydro's customers love smart new technologies, and nothing has been shown quite as much love as the ENERGY STAR® LED. One B.C. man did the math two and a half years ago, switching 124 lights in his home to LEDs after calculating that replacing energy-sucking incandescents would save him $11,000 over 20 years.

For that, we can thank two Japanese scientists and a Japanese-born American, winners this week of the Nobel prize for physics.

Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and naturalized U.S. citizen Shuji Nakamura revolutionized lighting technology two decades ago when they invented blue light-emitting diodes. Red and green LEDs had been around since the mid-20th century, but the blue LED dramatically expanded LED use to home and business lighting, streetlights, computers and TVs.

At BC Hydro Power Smart, the task of getting customers to switch to LEDs has been relatively easy, at least since the price of LED lighting began to drop. Consumers across the planet now recognize that, even if LEDs are more expensive to buy, a light that lasts 22 years and uses at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting is the smart choice.

“[The three scientists] succeeded where everyone else had failed," the Nobel committee said. "Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps."

The Nobel committee recognized the impact LEDs will have on the planet's resources, noting that about a quarter of world electricity consumption is used for lighting. For their work, Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura will split the Nobel award of about $1.1 million Cdn. 

This Offtober, save on ENERGY STAR LEDs

As you may have heard, Power Smart Month this year goes by the name of Offtober. And once again, we've worked with our retail partners to serve up a variety of lighting deals, including savings on these ENERGY STAR LEDs.

  • Cree 9.5W BR30 warm white dimmable LED floodlight, a great replacement for a 65W standard BR30 incandescent. Available at The Home Depot with a $4 Power Smart instant discount.
  • Phillips 3.5W dimmable soft white chandelier LED candelabra — ideal as an energy-efficient replacement for a 25W incandescent chandelier bulb — for use in decorative fixtures, wall sconces and chandeliers. Available at The Home Depot with a $2 Power Smart instant discount, or a $4 discount on a two-pack.
  • Phillips NEW SlimStyle 10.5W A-line general use A19 LED bulb, a new sleek, flat design ideal for replacement of 60W incandescent bulb, especially in table and floor lamps, pendant fixtures and wall sconces. Available at London Drugs and at The Home Depot with a $2 Power Smart instant discount. 
  • Cree 9.5W A19 warm white general use LED, dimmable with most standard dimmers and great for table lamps, floor lamps and outdoor use. Replaces 60W incandescent general use bulb. Available at The Home Depot with a $2 Power Smart instant discount.

Rob Klovance is managing editor of bchydro.com.