12 Days of Xmas: 6 lights a-glowing

We’re doing the 12 days of Christmas Appropriate Technology style.

Day 6: 6 lights a-glowing

Today we’ve got OLEDs, the skinny on mercury in CFLs, fiberoptics moving sunlight and more.

1. Beyond LEDs: GE Accelerates OLED Development from Treehugger

Probably won’t be affordable for a good long while, but wow. They took a hole punch and scissors to it and they still work.

Duration: 1min 56sec

From How stuff Works:

Imagine having a high-definition TV that is 80 inches wide and less than a quarter-inch thick, consumes less power than most TVs on the market today and can be rolled up when you’re not using it. What if you could have a “heads up” display in your car? How about a display monitor built into your clothing? These devices may be possible in the near future with the help of a technology called organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

2. Pop!Tech: Shelia Kennedy and light for the developing world from My Heart’s in Accra

See also this scathing review from Joel Johnson of Boing Boing. Ouch.

Sheila Kennedy's Portable Light

The prototype device, pictured above, produces 100 lumens (more than enough to read by), using a 3.7 volt battery at 1.8 amps. It takes about three hours to charge in full sunlight, and provides 10 hours of light, or 5-6 hours with two lights. The devices currently cost about $40-50 to build in batches of 500.

3. Incandescents Gone by 2014: Saving U.S. $40 billion from Ecogeek

Bulb - banhammered!

The recently-passed 2008 energy bill has a section banning incandescent light bulbs for traditional use. The phase-out will begin in 2012, with all incandescents gone by 2014. The bulbs will be replaced by LED and CFL bulbs.

4. Nano Technology May Grant LEDs a Brighter Future from Celsias

[R]esearchers are harnessing Nano-technology to get LEDs to leapfrog CFLs in efficiency by helping them brighten up their act.

5. Energy Rant from Sustainable Design Update

With just 6 watts of light we are providing an incredible step up in the standard of living for rural off grid populations. But 6 watts is about what the average television wastes when its “turned off”! Multiply that by 200 million TVs in the U.S. and you see why I’m about half way out of my mind.

6. A-Squared Michigan Installing 1000 LED Street Lights: A Less Than 4-Year Payback from Treehugger

The City of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the newest LED Cityâ„¢, expects to install more than 1,000 LED streetlights beginning next month. The City anticipates a 3.8-year payback on its initial investment. The LED lights typically burn five times longer than the bulbs they replace and require less than half the energy.
Full implementation of LEDs is projected to cut Ann Arbor’s public lighting energy use in half and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,425 tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road for a year. Detroit Edison, Ann Arbor’s local utility provider, will meter the new LED streetlights with the intent to gather sufficient information to develop new LED-based tariffs.

7. Subway Sunlight Project from Inhabitat

Subway Light Project

Sunlight transport systems are an Inhabitat favorite, as they make it possible to channel actual natural light into dark places and cast it through a fixture. The Subway Light Project is the first we’ve seen that incorporates sunlight transfer in public urban art, to save the city money on energy, and infuse public space with a good mood boost. Parsons student Caroline Pham, who designed the Subway Light Project, won first place in the school’s 2007 Sustainable Design Review. Her concept uses sunlight capture devices and fiber optics cables to channel sunlight into the enclosed corridors of the subway.

8. Sex And The Socket from The Sietch Blog

Duration: 1:19

A v. cheeky little video about a lamp finding true love with a long-lasting CFL after a series of duds.

Created by Vancouver Film School student Cesar Montero through the VFS Digital Design program.

9. Wal-Mart’s mixed ‘green’ bag from CNN Money

Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Wal-Mart. Last year, the world’s biggest retailer:

  • Generated 20.4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions
  • Improved the efficiency of its fleet by 15%
  • Sold 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs [emphasis added]
  • Stopped doing business with 2.3% of 8,873 overseas factories it audited because of poor labor conditions
  • Paid an average hourly wage of $10.76
  • Employed 15,695 American Indians
  • Gave away $301 million in charitable contributions
  • Encouraged its employees to lose weight, and heard back that they lost, collectively, 184,315 pounds

10. Frequently Asked Questions – Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury August 2007 [pdf] from Energystar.gov

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 5 milligrams – about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. It would take 100 CFLs to equal that amount.

Mercury currently is an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. Many manufacturers have taken significant steps to reduce mercury used in their fluorescent lighting products. In fact, the average amount of mercury in a CFL is anticipated to drop by the end of 2007 thanks to technology advances and a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

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