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Vu1 enters $15 bulb in efficient-lighting race

Vu1 will sell a flood light that uses 70 percent less power than incandescent bulbs at Lowe's for just under $15 and has plans for an Edison-shaped bulb.

The Vu1 flood light will be followed by a classic Edison-style bulb.
The Vu1 flood light will be followed by a classic Edison-style bulb.

Vu1 said today the first in its line of efficient light bulbs will be available at retailer Lowes, pitting one more technology against the aging incandescent bulb.

The company's first product is an R30 bulb designed to replace a 65-watt incandescent flood light, which uses about 19.5 watts of power. Vu1 (pronounced "view one") plans to introduce a classic Edison A19 shape bulb as well in Europe and the U.S.

The R30 is less efficient than a comparable compact fluorescent bulb, which uses about 13 watts, but it does not have mercury and has full light instantly. Priced at $14.95, it's less expensive than comparable LEDs. Compared to halogens, Vu1 says its bulbs are more energy efficient and will last longer--about 11,000 hours.

The color rendering index, which is a measure of light quality, is 85 CRI and the color temperature is warm at 2800 Kelvin.

The company calls the technology behind the bulb electronically stimulated luminescence (ESL), a technique that produces the same light quality as traditional incandescent lamps. Like a cathode ray tube, electrons are fired at glass coated with phosphors that are excited to give off light. The technology has been around for years but never fully pursued for lighting, according to the company.

The company has received UL certification for its A-type bulb and R-30 flood light bulb.