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.
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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