By now, we hope that most of you know that swapping incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs saves money and energy, but there’s still a lingering misconception that LED bulbs emit a cold, bluish light that is just not as warm or attractive as the old filament-filled bulbs we grew up with. To dispel this fallacy, we sought out a group of people with a critical eye for light bulb color and ambiance – lighting designers on the show floor of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at New York Design Week. These meticulous designers take light warmth and quality very seriously (that is their job after all), so we couldn’t think of anyone better suited to give an honest opinion about the latest generation of high-tech LED light bulbs. Watch our video above to see how we retrofitted five gorgeous designer lamps with new Philips LED light bulbs – and in the process saved $1,732.86 in energy costs and won over some designer converts to the future of LED lighting.
Christopher Poehlmann – CP Lighting
CP LIGHTING RECYCLED PIPE SCONCE
The first stop on our whirlwind tour through the ICFF was the CP Lighting booth, to talk to lighting designer Christopher Poehlmann. We’ve long been fans of Poehlmann’s beautiful, eco-friendly lighting fixtures, which are sculpted to look like tree branches but are actually made of recycled pipes! We wanted to up the green quotient on Christopher’s already very eco-conscious lamps, so we switched out the energy-guzzling 60W incandescent bulb in his Branch Wall Sconce with a 12.5W Philips Ambient LED Bulb. Though it only took us about 15 seconds to make the switch, and you can’t really tell the difference in light quality at all – the change will save $125.08 in energy costs over the next 5 years.
Christopher Poehlmann’s response: “Nice! I like it. The color rendering looks the same as an incandescent which is fantastic. People are very used to having that kind of warm tone from light bulbs and there’s no flicker. It looks great.”
CP LIGHTING ANTLER PENDANT
Since we were on a roll with Christopher Poehlmann, we decided to work our LED magic on another one of his New Growth lamps. This time we chose the CP Lighting Antler pendant from Poehlmann’s New Growth series. The fixture, which is made of recycled aluminum pipes, uses four 25W incandescent candle bulbs, which we swapped out with four energy-saving 3.5W Philips candle LED bulbs, a change that both modernizes the lamp, and will save $154.57 in energy costs over 5 years. WIN!
Gabriel Kakon – Gabriel Scott
GABRIEL SCOTT BRASS KELLY
After our venture with CP Lighting, we headed over to check out the booth very different team of designers. Gabriel Scott‘s opulent, high-end chandeliers are designed mainly for upscale corporate clients like hotels and restaurants. Their luxurious Brass Kelly chandelier uses over half a kilometer of brass chain for a breathtaking cascade effect, but SIXTEEN (count ‘em) 25W incandescent bulbs in the fixture gobble up energy like nobody’s business. Luckily, Gabriel Scott co-founder Gabriel Kakon allowed us to replace those antiquated energy-guzzlers with 16 Philips 3.5W candle LED bulbs for a whopping savings of $1,236.52 in energy costs over 5 years.
Designer Gabriel Kakon’s response: “Actually, someone today just asked me about a hotel where the ceilings are very high… they wanted to make sure that LEDs would work for this chandelier so that they could avoid having to switch the bulbs frequently.”
Vincent Georgeson – Misewell
MISEWELL TOKYO LAMP
Our next stop on the ICFF LED Bulb Challenge was Misewell, a company that focuses on timeless, classic design. Co-founder Vincent Georgeson showed us the Misewell Tokyo lamp, which we were immediately drawn to its cute and classy looks, but since its 60W incandescent bulb guzzles energy, and burns out in just 2,000 hours (about 83 days), we wanted to make the lamp a little more “timeless” and “long-lasting” with a 12.5W Philips Ambient LED Bulb, which lasts about 22 years before the bulb needs to be changed. The simple fix saves $128.05 in energy costs over 5 years.
Designer Vincent Georgeson’s response: “I like it – it’s a lot warmer than I expected. With LEDs, I’m always thinking a cold kind of color, like really white, but this looks great. I love the light that it puts out. It’s very natural, very similar to an incandescent.”
Jonathan Junker – Graypants
Our last stop in the whirlwind LED Bulb Challenge was the Graypants booth, a company that we’ve long been fans of for their clever and beautiful recycled cardboard Scrap lamps. It didn’t take much convincing to get Graypants co-founder Jonathan Junker to let us swap one of his 40W incandescent bulbs with a 12.5W Philips Ambient LED Bulb, and he was very pleased with the result, which saves $85.97 in energy costs over 5 years.
Jonathan Junker’s response: “I love the way the bulb looks. It’s actually a really nice bulb and we use it quite a bit. It’s the bulb I have in my own Scrap Lights in my house actually. It dims nicely, it has a good warmth to it that matches incandescents and I think it’s a wonderful fit and a responsible fit.”
In total, our LED lighting upgrades will save $1,732.86 in energy costs over the next 5 years without sacrificing anything in terms of aesthetics. As the above video illustrates, LED bulbs can work beautifully in designer lamps, and designers can’t tell the difference, in many cases. This new generation of Philips LED bulbs shine as warmly and as brightly as incandescents, last much longer and save energy and money. We think that’s a pretty good incentive to go out and swap out your incandescent bulbs, don’t you?