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The Light Bulb Goes Off

January 27, 2011

By Tim Laughlin

Republished from Xcel Energy Blog

Last week, Swedish-based retailer IKEA announced they will no longer sell incandescent bulbs, offering only compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and halogens in its place.

While this may seem like a fairly insignificant step toward the inevitable, it seems much bigger than that to me; much more profound.

The light bulb has been a fixture in our society, since, well, Thomas Edison. It’s been THE icon for energy use in our country. And while we’ve seen a number technological advancements to our day-to-day energy using equipment, the one constant has been the incandescent light bulb.

I’m not slighting IKEA, or the move to discontinue incandescents. Far from it. It’s great to see progress for energy efficiency. I’m thrilled to see moves like this, as they hopefully will encourage positive action and ultimately behavior change.

What I find fascinating is that after all this time – particularly in an age of better, faster, stronger – the original light bulb has remained virtually untouched for more than 100 years. So many similar products have made huge technological strides – the telephone, radio, PC, and television, to name a few. And through it all, the light bulb has been there, glowing, well…incandescently.

Over the past 100 years, I can’t think of a similar product that has remained virtually unchanged – like the incandescent light bulb. Can you? Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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