RICHLAND, Wash.-- Pacific Northwest National Laboratories is researching a new type of light bulb that's changing the way we'll use electricity.
Scientists say LED light bulbs like this are the future of electricity. That's why the Department of Energy created a competition to build a better light bulb to cut down America's electricity use.
"The L Prize competition is intended to move the market to challenge manufacturers to develop the better light bulb. In order to do that we have to do some specialized testing and make sure this technology will deliver as promised," said Jeff McCullough, a PNNL light researcher.
The Philips Electronics company won the competition and now their lights are being tested at PNNL. The results are astounding.
Inside the thermal chamber, there are 202 LED light bulbs being tested for light and color. The amount of energy the LEDs use combined is equivalent to one hairdryer. And they've been on now for 22,000 hours.
A typical incandescent light bulb can last for 1,000 hours or around one year. These LED's can last up to 35 years.
"This technology is able to reduce the energy use from those incandescent lamps by about 90%. So, for the fraction of your energy bill that is devoted to lighting that potentially could be reduced by 90%," said Marc Ledbetter, the manager of the light research program.
Experts estimate these new LED light bulbs could save the country $250 billion in energy costs over 20 years.
The bulbs cost between $30 to $50 now, but the price is expect to drop below $10 within the next two years.