LED? Low wattage comes with a price

Lowe's this week announced it would begin hawking a light-emitting diode, or LED, bulb.

It's the perfect substitute for the good-old 60-watt incandescent standby. However, the price is a bit off-putting at $39.98. But new technology comes with a cost. A really cool flat-screen TV can run up to $3,600 at Costco.

Of course, I still have an old tube TV and still burn some low wattage incandescents.
Lowe's version is from Osram Sylvania. Home Depot sells a similar unit for about the same price from Phillips.

Cool? Sure. Will I use one?

I thought about that. I live in a somewhat respectable area in Clovis, Calif. But it's a place where if you put anything at all valuable on the curb, it disappears. I've actually timed this practice. I put an old washing machine out, and it lasted 15 minutes.

Even scrap metal disappears relatively quickly.

So I imagined how quickly my outside lights would disappear should I plug in LEDs. Three outdoor LEDs could fetch one of my friendly roving recyclers a good return.

I tried going with compact fluorescents. But even with stores' increased eco light selection, I can't seem to find any that don't blow out with photo-cell lighting.

Photo-cell friendly compact fluorescents do exist, but I couldn't find them on the shelf. I ended up buying 38-watt incandescents. They work fine but stay on all night.

The key for greater usage is versatility, or, in my case, conformability. I may have to break down and buy some new fixtures.

Many have said the incandescent is on the way out and in fact may be banned by energy efficiency seeking regulation. But the price differential for that efficiency remains high.

Martin LaMonica of Green Tech on cnet.com said change may be coming. "Some lighting company executives forecast that within two years, LED bulbs in the 800 lumen category will cost less than $10," he wrote.