What is an HEI&Trade; Bulb?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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In the near future, the High Energy Incandescent (HEI™) bulb is slated to be part of General Electric’s push towards more efficient lighting. According to a GE press release dated February 2007, the HEI™ bulb will be ready for market by 2010, providing the same quality of light and convenience as today’s standard incandescent light bulbs, while using half the energy. GE expects continued development will eventually lead to an HEI™ bulb that is four times more efficient than today’s incandescent bulbs, putting the HEI™ bulb on par with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Much of the energy consumed by incandescent bulbs is wasted as heat. With countless households worldwide using this inefficient form of lighting, unnecessary demands are placed on utility companies to provide electricity that is essentially wasted. In short, tons of waste emissions that result in greenhouse gases could be cut every year if demand were reduced by switching to more energy efficient lighting like CFLs or the HEI™ bulb.


CFLs are highly efficient, but have had drawbacks. Sometimes called an “energy saving light bulb,” a CFL is a fluorescent bulb that can screw into an incandescent light fixture. CFLs are rated to last many times longer than a standard bulb, using about one quarter of the energy for comparable watts or lumens. While this is good, some people find the light of CFLs to appear dimmer and less soothing than an incandescent bulb. This is because CFLs radiate light from a different part of the color spectrum than a standard light bulb.

The HEI™ bulb, being an incandescent lamp, will reportedly generate light in the same spectrum as a standard bulb and could convince people dissatisfied with CFLs to finally switch to a more efficient lamp. Cutting energy demands for lighting in half would certainly help, particularly on a wide scale. Furthermore, as developers refine the HEI™ bulb per GE’s stated goals, it is reasonable to assume that then-current customers of the bulbs would be replacing them with newer ones as needed, resulting in cascading savings and a greater, positive environmental impact. Topping off this favorable picture, GE also claims the HEI™ bulb will be less expensive than CFLs.

Details on just how the HEI™ bulb will work were not revealed, but with smart materials and nanotechnologies crowding the horizons, it could be an interesting upgrade. Thomas Edison, light bulb inventor and founder of General Electric, would likely approve.


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Post 5

I'm amused at how many people still think these CFL bulbs are safe, even though they have "small" amounts of mercury in them. I don't want my child anywhere NEAR one of these bulbs, so I'm continuing to use incandescent bulbs for now. Maybe these GE HEI bulbs will be safer and more pleasing to the eye than mercury filled light bulbs that give off a very irritating colored light (I'd rather use candles than CFLs). I really hope the GE HEI bulb will be LESS expensive than the CFLs and LEDs.

I'd also be interested to know why environmentalists aren't screaming and hollering about the mercury in CFLs? They scream and holler about everything else...

Post 2

CFL bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury and should not be thrown out with the trash but disposed of like other hazardous material such as batteries. The mercury is reclaimed in the recycling process. Snopes has information on what to do if you break a CFL in the house.

Post 1

I read somewhere that CFI (?) bulbs have mercury in them and if one is dropped and broken one is immediately exposed to the mercury. We have about 6 CFIs (?)...the twisted our house and they don't perform good enough for my tired old eyes to see well enough to read. So I replaced them with "regular" 75 watt bulbs and I can read just fine by those. My wife still has the "twisted ones" in her lamps, but she is 15 years my junior in age.

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