Hoping to hasten the transition to light emitting diode (LED) bulbs, General Electric (GE) says it plans to completely phase out production and sales of its compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) lightbulbs in the U.S. by the end of the year.
GE has been ramping up its move to LED over the past years including rolling out specialty bulbs that help with sleep cycles and offering its Bright Stik 3-pack of LEDs at a low cost. GE has spent the last year driving prices down for LEDs and giving consumers more options of LEDs in order to make the transition to the technology faster.
Previously, GE transitioned in a similar way to CFLs from incandescent bulbs, abandoning the technology in favor of something that was more energy-efficient and last longer. Now, the lighting company will once again influence retailers and consumer opinions and buying patterns by moving to a bulb that is even more efficient than CFLs and last much longer.
GE plans to discontinue the manufacturing of CFLs in the U.S. by the end of 2016 and begin to shift all of its resources on manufacturing LED bulbs. In addition to a longer life span and better brightness than CFLs, LEDs also allow for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities which makes them an excellent option for enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) and furthermore, smart cities and smart homes. GE will continue to manufacture CFL bulbs for other regions of the world, the company says.
While the move to all-LEDs may be a boon for the environment, consumers still overwhelmingly purchase halogens and CFLs whereas commercial applications currently lead the LED market because of the lower electricity consumption in factories, office buildings, warehouses and parking lots. Despite the drop in prices of LEDs, these bulbs may still be too expensive for most consumers and the move by GE has come under fire by some critics as one that won’t meet the needs of all consumers.