Light bulb with 20-year lifespan hits market

Other than the home itself, few household items are designed to last several decades, especially in today's society, where many products are not nearly as durable as their predecessors from generations before. Philips is hoping to buck that trend with this week's release of its new LED bulbs, which the company claims can last up to 20 years.

Last year, Philips won the U.S. Department of Energy's L Prize for its incredibly efficient LED bulb, which uses about 10 watts of power – a stark difference from the 60 watts used by standard incandescent bulbs. The bulb's efficiency, coupled with the bright colors it emits, have caused it to be priced at around $50.

As this blog reported last month, consumers initially scoffed at the idea of paying that much for a light bulb, after they have spent less than one dollar on incandescent bulbs for most of their lives.

But despite the hefty price tag, the Philips bulb is expected to last 30 times longer than incandescent bulbs and three times longer than CFL bulbs. Still, consumers who are eligible for rebates could pay as little as $22 for the bulb.

"Rather than go out and buy a truckload of them now, I'd wait and see if prices drop a little, especially as we approach the 2014 ban on incandescent bulbs over 40 watts," MSNBC contributor Wilson Rothman said.

Until 2014, consumers may want to use energy-efficient CFL bulbs, which cost as little as $5 and help promote home energy efficiency. Homeowners can also reduce their energy bills by working with a D.C. home inspector who can identify ways to increase efficiency through a home inspection.