Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Use Rare Earth Minerals
What are Rare Earth Minerals?
Name says it all:
- Rare: Not a lot of places to get it.
- Earth: Comes from the Earth, explains the rare part.
- Minerals: Natural elements from the earth.
The minerals are made up of 17 elements from the periodic table. They have become increasingly important as safe environmental applications in technological advancements in our world.
Where are Rare Earth Minerals Located?
China has a tremendous reserve of Rare Earth Minerals and has been responsible for 95% of the worlds Rare Earth Output. They have decided to lower export of the minerals at a time when demand has increased substantially.
High Demand + Low Supply = Higher Prices
Why are energy efficient light bulbs getting more expensive?
65% of the cost of a fluorescent bulb is attributed to Rare Earth Minerals. Since fluorescents have a very important role in energy efficient lighting, the demand for fluorescent bulbs have increased significantly over the past couple of years. Rare Earth Minerals are also used in:
- Military Weapons
- Flat Screen TV's
- Flat Screen Monitors
- Catalytic converters
- Cell Phones
- Computers and Processors
- Solar Panels
As you can see from the list, all of the products above have likely touched your life in one form or another over the past 5 years.
How Will This Impact Energy Efficient Projects?
Even though the rise in cost is significant, don't let the increase sway your decision in pursuing energy efficient upgrades. Lamp cost in energy efficient lighting upgrades is usually a small portion of the overall cost of a fixture.
The economic benefit of energy savings will likely outweigh the increase in cost production of the lamps. All fluorescent bulb manufacturers are raising the costs of bulbs, so you will likely not be able to benefit from one or another.
When Will Prices Change?
Expect a 25% increase in the cost of bulbs by 8/1/2011 and possibly an increase of up to 50% by the end of 2011.
Need to See If Your Energy Efficient Lighting Project Still Makes Sense?
Let Hovey Electric review your numbers to determine if the increase has any negative economic impact on your project. We will provide the analysis for FREE.
If you are re-lamping your facility, the pricing will have a major impact. If you are doing a complete retrofit, the increase will have less of an impact.
Source: General Electric