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Hands-on with Cree's T8 LED (pictures)

Cree's setting its sights on the office with a more efficient take on commercial lighting.

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Ryan_Crist2.jpg

Ry Crist

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1 of 11 Colin West McDonald/CNET

Cree T8 LED

Cree's new T8 LED wants to replace those buzzy fluorescent bulbs that businesses have been using for decades. Click through for a better look.

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More efficienct

Cree's T8 LED is a 4-ft. bulb capable of putting out 2,100 lumens from just 21 watts, giving it an impressive efficiency rating of 100 lumens per watt.

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Easy installation

The T8 LED is designed with the same two-prong connection as existing T-8 fluorescent lights, so there's no need for businesses to rewire their ballasts or fixtures.

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Side by side

Here's the T8 LED (left) alongside a standard fluorescent light in the same fixture.

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Color temperature

Cree's T8 LED will come in both a 3,500K and 4,000K color temperature model.

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Dimmable

Cree also says its bulb is compatible with most dimmable ballasts.

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Instant on

Cree's bulb produces light using diodes, as opposed to the gaseous mercury found within fluorescents. This means it'll turn on instantly, even in cold weather.

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High CRI

The Cree T8 LED boasts a CRI (color rendering index) of 90. That's a big improvement over what fluorescent tube lighting offers.

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Life span

Cree claims the T8 LED has a 50,000-hour life span -- more than twice that of the average fluorescent. Since businesses tend to keep their lights on longer than residences, this might be an especially important factor.

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DLC-qualified

The Cree T8 LED earned qualification from the DesignLights Consortium, which tests and rates many kinds of industrial and commercial lighting products. This could qualify the Cree LED for utility rebates in certain regions.

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The bottom line

In the end, it might all come down to the cost. At $30 per bulb, Cree's LED is significantly more expensive than comparable fluorescent bulbs, which can retail for less than $2 a piece. That said, in regions where businesses can earn energy rebates, Cree's LED might still add up to be the better value.

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