A LED That Shines Above the Rest

LR6 From Top
Photo by permission of the LR6 by LED Lighting Fixture, Inc,

At Lightfair 2007 in New York City, there were so many promising CFL and LED fixtures. One that caught my eye was LED Lighting Fixture, Inc.’s LR6. This LED looked like it was wearing a metal hat and simply screwed into a typical 6” recessed lighting can, as demonstrated by one of the salespersons. The light rendering seemed excellent. Remember, I was in a huge convention hall with its own lights with aging 40 plus year old eyes.   It seemed too good to be true, a LED light that could provide general illumination. 

 This month I received an email about the launch of LLF’s new website.  Their email brought back memories about how impressed I was with their LED.  I still wondered could this product render full room illumination whereas many other LED products can only provide directional lighting.  What about the heat that is generated from a LED bulb which will eventually shorten its life?  More importantly, is it worth its cost? 

 The LR6 is basically a screw-in-device lighting module for either new construction or retrofit that installs in most standard six inch recessed cans.    It can be installed in both IC or non-IC rated recessed cans.

According to the company, the LR6 is different than many other LED bulbs being manufactured.  Many of the LED bulbs produce light that is directional in nature and cannot provide general illumination of a room.  LLF touts that this LED bulb can provide general illumination if bulbs are spaced every 6 feet by 6 feet based upon a 8 to 9 foot ceiling.

lr6_collage

Photo courtesy of Lighting of Tommorrow and LED Lighting Fixtures, Inc. 

In addition, this light bulb is rated for 50,000 hours and its life is not decreased by the heat LEDs generally create.  It contains an integrated thermal management system, which conducts heat away form the LED.  It transfers the heat to the surrounding environment.  It is conceivable that this light bulb’s life could be twenty years depending on the amount of time the light fixture is used.

 Before you start running for your stool to take out your old light bulbs, this fixture can not fit in all recessed can and/or work wth all dimmers.  Name brands like Halo and Juno can be modified so that it can fit.

In my case, I have a Lutron lighting system with Lutron dimmers.  Much to my dismay, neither the dimmers, nor the lighting system is compatible with this fixture.  However, I was assured by LLF’s customer service the Company is working with Lutron and other light companies so the LR6 is compatible.  Continue to check their website to see their list of compatible recessed cans.

  In addition to checking if your fixture is compatible, you also need to check if your dimmers are compatible.  Right now, the following dimmers are compatible with the LR6: 

 Cooper – Aspire 9530WS

 Leviton – Trimatron 6681-IW Leviton – Illumitech IPI06-LAW The Wattstopper – Miro MCD267-W 

The website will have a list in the near future. So, why not buy a fluorescent bulb or an incandescent bulb instead? 

“Technological breakthroughs by LED Lighting Fixtures, Inc. give us beautiful light that is more efficient and longer lasting than both incandescents and CFLs, and contain NO TOXIC MERCURY.”The LR6 uses 85% less energy than a conventional incandescent, generates no infrared heat and lasts more than 20 times longer than an incandescent bulb.” 

In addition, the company states, “[t]he LR6 lasts 5 times longer than a CFL. It contains no toxic mercury and provides substantially improved color rendering over fluorescent. It is more efficient than a CFL, but looks and performs like incandescent.”  The LR6 comes in both a 2700k (warm) and 3500k (neutral) color rendering. See the application chart comparing the use of the LR6, 65 watt BR30, 18 watt CFL, and 50 watt Par 20 in the kitchen. 

   The retail cost of this LED is $125 in the tri-state NY metropolitan area, and $130 online. Discounts for large orders may apply. 

  This price may stop everyone in their tracks; however, this product is like many other energy efficient products where the consumers bear an upfront cost with a payback over time.  The Company states that the cost of this LED is in the same cost range of a commercial fluorescent recessed can (housing and trim included but not installed.)

What kind of savings does this LED provide to justify its price?  According to the Company,  

“[o]n average in the United States, running a 65-watt light for 50,000 hours would cost $325 in electricity alone. Because the LR6 uses only 12 watts, running the light for 50,000 hours will cost only $60 under the same scenario. In addition, you will no longer spend time or money replacing lights. Over the lifetime of one LR6, you will save $265 dollars or more on your electric bill alone. Imagine the savings if every light in your home was an LR6!” 

 This cost analysis is based upon ten cents per kilowatt according to Gary Trott, VP of Product Development.  His calculations are as follows comparing the energy costs of the LR6, CFL, and incandescent:

o       Total Energy Cost for 50,000 hours = (Fixture Input Wattage)*(Cost per kWh)*(hours of operations)*(1Kw/1000w)

o       LLF LR6 = (12)*(0.10)*(50000)*(1/1000) = $60

o       18W CFL = (18)*(0.10)*(50000)*(1/1000) = $100

o       65W Incandescent = (65)*(0.10)*(50000)*(1/1000) = $325″ 

In addition, the LR6 won the grand prize in the solid state lighting category in the Lighting of Tomorrow competition. 

 The competition is designed to stimulate the market for attractive, energy-efficient residential lighting fixtures that use a fraction of the electricity of standard incandescent fixtures. By encouraging new designs and technologies, Lighting for Tomorrow aims to increase market acceptance and awareness of the growing opportunities in energy-efficient lighting,” as stated on their website.   

This organization is comprised of the American Lighting Association, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, as a representative of the US Department of Energy, and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency.

 At this cost, who is buying this product?   I asked one of LLF’s dealers this question.  He replied that commercial companies are replacing their lighting fixtures with the LR6 to reduce their energy bills. Many companies are seeing about a 20 percent reduction in their bills.  However, he is not seeing as many consumers buying these bulbs due to the price when they can buy an incandescent for less than a dollar. 

Although the LR6 seems like a dream LED product, I still have questions as to whether or not it provides the same general illumination that I like (and need with my eyes)  compared to what fluorescent or incandescent provides.  Being a little skeptical, I would need to see a room where these lights are used or confer with a lighting designer if these lights would meet my illumination needs in different rooms.   None the less, LLF in my opinion has created an LED that has great potential.

Despite LLF’s accomplishment, does the cost outweigh the benefits of the energy savings over its life?  Is the payback too long of a period? 

 My general thoughts are if I was in the process of building a new house, I would consider the LR6 since I would have ordinarily opted for a fluorescent recessed can, which would be as expensive as the LR6.  However, in a retro-fit situation, it would be too expensive to change all of my lights. Perhaps I would install the LR6 in those lights that were hard to reach for replacement when the bulbs burnt out.  Not having to pay someone to change my high situated ceiling lights would be worth the money.

  As popularity of this fixture continues, the price will decrease and at that time, I would consider getting out my stool. Readers, what are your thoughts?  At what point does the cost exceed the benefits for energy efficient products?

  For technical information, see the LR6 specification sheet.  Future plans for the Company are the introduction of a sister light, the LR4, which is a four inch bulb for new construction and new recessed lights.  

Note:  This article has been revised to reflect a more accurate price of the LR6. I was incorrectly quoted $85.00.

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Comments

  1. 2

    Green Talk says

    Thanks so much for the “Hugg”. Actually Treehugger picked it up and wrote an article about my post. Million thanks. Come back again and leave a comment. Please tell Green Talk readers a little about yourself.

  2. 5

    Green Talk says

    Readers, I wanted to let you know that the price of the LEDs varies widely. JPR Lighting Group, Inc in Staten Island, confirmed that they were selling the bulb for $85.00. They ship anywhere and sell to the public. Another local place and one on the web offer the bulb from $120 to $130.00. My advice is shop around for the best price.

  3. 6

    Green Talk says

    Via email from Las Vegas Home Experts regarding my thank you for the “Hugg.” The author writes, “[y]our welcome for the Hugg. Glad to give a little link love back. Those LED lights sound like they might be the answer for long term energy efficiency while being environment friendly. I’ll be adding a blog to lvrealty by the end of the month. One of the segments will be green stuff in Las Vegas.”

    When I asked my reader what their site is about he said, “Its my wife’s real estate site for Las Vegas (Mostly). I have information on every high rise and loft project, all major housing planned communities and condos. I also put up local info and the dogs that we are currently fostering. I have a pair of Beagle puppies, a Collie, a Cockapoo, a min pin and two poodle mixes (yeah I know). The Collie will be going to Cali at the
    end of the month and the Beagles will be going to prison (one of my friends has a rescue program in two of the women’s correctional centers here where they train dogs). ”

    If you are looking for real estate in LV, dogs they foster, or what’s green in LV (besides money)–coming soon, check out their site, http://www.lvrealty.net/!

    I wish you well with your new segement of Las Vegas Home Experts! Keep in touch and visit often.

  4. 7

    says

    My company is a green friendly lighting supplier based in Chandler , AZ. Presently we are stocking the LLF’s and have done several project. This product is awesome. I have installed in my own home. Please feel free to e-mail me or contact one of our sales associates for more information.

  5. 8

    Green Talk says

    Welcome Bruce! Just to give Bruce a little plug, his company (Red Mountain Lighting) is a wholesale distributor of energy efficient lighting. I am so glad you stopped by. I see that you installed the LED lights in your house. I have alot of questions and I hope you do not mind answering them for my readers.

    Do you find that there is any glare from the lights? Do you feel that every six feet for the installation of the LLF lights is adequate for general illumination all the way to the floor? Do you see any difference between incandescent, CFLs, or these lights in your own home. How tall are your celings? I ask this question because alot of ceiling heights in new construction are at least in NJ 9 to 10 feet. Can the LEDs handle this or need to be spaced closer?

    Thanks in advance for answering my questions. You will receive an email with this response to your comment due to a plug-in that I have. I would appreciate it if you could respond on the web if you do not mind. Anna

  6. 9

    says

    Thank you Anna, I welcome your questions and I am glad to help. We installed in our kitchen. It is a sloped ceiling with 4 cans. 2 @ 10′ and 2 @ 9′. Their grid is 4′ x 7′ centers. The room is 15′ x 17′ and the light is more than adequate all the way to the floor. I believe that mounting on 6′ centers would supply plenty of light. The big difference between an incandescent light source and the LLF is the spread of light. Incandescent is a “point source” light that give a hot spot directly under the fixture. The LLF has a wider spread so they will typically cover more area with less fixtures. Another big difference is color. The LLF is 92% out of 100% on the color rendering index therefore you get much more rich and vibrant colors than with an incandescent or a CFL’s. We have not experienced any glair. What we have found is that when you change your light source people tend to look up at them for the 1st week or so since it is so different. That is why people will report “glair”. After a week or so that phenomenon will fade. Thank you again for allowing us to post to your site. Energy efficiency has been my passion for the last seven years and this is the best product I have seen since the introduction of the encapsulated CFL !

  7. 10

    says

    Anna, in regards to the $ 85.00 price noted above, that may be a net after rebate out of pocket ? The agreed contract price per LLF,Inc. is $ 130.00 if selling via the web. There are some volume discounts available but those are on large institutional projects such as a University or large commercial facility with several hundred units

  8. 11

    Green Talk says

    Bruce, thanks again for your post. I changed the price to reflect the $125-$130 range with a note for those who have previously read the post. $125 amount came through another distributor and I did see the $130 online price. I have no idea why I was quoted this price twice by this particular dealer, but if the rest of the dealers are at the above price, then I don’t want to mislead my readers. I just hope that the price comes down soon.

  9. 13

    Rich Smola says

    We recently remodeled our kitchen. I bought and installed twenty of the LR6 bulbs. They work beautifully. None of our friends can believe they are LEDS.
    Anyone can call me for details and pics – I dont sell these, just bought them from a dealer out of state and installed them in my own house.
    They put out plenty of light with no glare.
    Modifying the 6 inch cans was easy and fast – anyone could do it.
    Installation into the can is simple, fast and secure.
    I got the incandescent corrected ones (also available in daylight corrected) and we love them.
    One tiny quirk that I noticed – they dont come on “instantly” like an incandescent does. When you flip the switch, they light up a fraction of a second later. They come on full strength and dont “warm up” to full light level like a CFL does.
    They put out practically no heat, so I buried the cans in insulation. No problems.
    My only complaint is that they only make these to fit 6 inch cans – I want to replace every light bulb in my house with one of these – when can we buy the smaller bulbs, too?

  10. 14

    Green Talk says

    Rich, I would love a picture! My understanding is that the newest product coming out is the 4″ inch recessed light for new construction. Can you let me know what exactly you are looking for before I email them. Is this for 4 inch cans?

    What kind of cans do you have with the 6 inch and which dimmers do you use out of curiousity. I am still waiting because I have a lutron system, which when I wrote the article, did not work yet with the LEDs. Anna

  11. 16

    Green Talk says

    Mical, tell me about the 9W recessed fixture. What does a 9W led equate to in incandescent so my readers can understand. Also, is this LED for ambient lighting as well or more direct spot lighting? Also, how do you deal with the heat issues with the LEDs? Anna

  12. 17

    says

    I have to agree this would probably be a long term conversion as new housing will be the best candidate for installation not a retro. Just too much to replace what you have and too difficult to do.

  13. 18

    Rich Smola says

    We use these bulbs with the Aspire line on dimmers by Lutron. Got em at Lowe’s for about $25 each. There is a list of the approved dimmers on the LLF website. These bulbs draw so little amperage the issue is to find a dimmer that will work with amperage that low. I used the cheapest 6 inch cans I could get – about $9 each for remodel cans and also from Lowe’s. These are easy to modify for the LED bulb assemblies to fit into them (modification consists of throwing away most of the inside assembly of the can) – modification varies depending on the brand and model of can and modification directions for nearly all cans on the market are provided with the bulbs and also on website.

    I disagree with Matt that installation into an existing can is too difficult – most cans can be modified even after they are installed – it may not be economical to do it, given the cost of the bulbs – you have to take a long term perspective for these bulbs to pay off in saved lighting energy and saved energy in heat not lost through the can.

  14. 26

    says

    Although I professional see the value and the benefits of the led, I still have a soft spot for the old eddison globe. I hear it is being retro made with led properties.

  15. 31

    Rich Smola says

    I posted earlier about these LED bulbs. Installed them in Nov 2007. All still working great – no failures, no issues, no drama. Light output is the same (measured with my photographic light meter) and we burn them about 6 hours a day, seven days a week.

    I love not having to replace those old, $6 a piece incandescent light bulbs that lasted about a year each.

    • 32

      Anna@Green Talk says

      Rich, this is great to hear! Thanks so much for coming back to Green Talk to tell us about your experience. Anna

  16. 33

    says

    Anna, Since our first posting back in October 2007 we have sold approximately 10,000 of the Cree LR6 units and have only had a handfull fail. If your members around the country frequent IHOP or Denny’s they may very well see this product. It is now a national specification for both companies. The LR6 has come down in price and our company Red Mountain Lighting does sell to the general pulic but not via our web site. Feel free to give us a call.

    Bruce Sweeny
    President – Red Mountain Lighting

    • 34

      Anna@Green Talk says

      Bruce, welcome back! What are the bulbs listed at now? Any new LEDS that you absolutely love beside the LR6? Anna

  17. 36

    says

    Are you able to test out bulb products before you buy in Costco? Where we are you can test out the bulbs before to buy to make sure it works and it is what you want.

  18. 38

    Rich Smola says

    Just checking in for my yearly update.
    Installed 20 of the LR6 bulbs in my kitchen in Nov 2007. All still working great – did have an issue with two bulbs throwing off a pinkish light for a short time, but that seemed to resolve itself – they all work fine now.
    My wife and I burn them a lot and havent replaced one of them yet. Longevity on these bulbs is great – the old incandescent bulbs lasted about one year each.
    Very satisfied with these bulbs!

  19. 40

    says

    A great energy saving LED light that would most likely value for our daily life…..It can also save our children eye sight than saving energy….a bright and clear LED that Shines…

  20. 41

    Rich Smola says

    Here’s the latest on the LED bulbs we installed back in 2007.
    Installed 20 of the LR6 bulbs in my kitchen in Nov 2007. All still working great – None have burned out or been replaced for any reason.
    These things seem on track to last many years, just as we hoped.
    Ont he other hand, we have some track lighting in another room with halogen GU10 bulbs. Performance on these is bad – they make tons of heat and burn out about every 1 to 1.5 years. Cathedral ceiling in that room makes replacement tough and dangerous.
    Anyone know of a LED replacement for these bulbs? Need an LED with equal or better lumens.

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