Well, that good news didn’t last long …

Just last week, the Michele Bachmann-championed Better Use of Light Bulb (BULB) Act, a totally dumb piece of legislation that would repeal light bulb energy-efficiency mandates outlined within George W. Bush’s Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, failed to pass in the House. Fabulous. But then, just a couple of days later, the House approved an amendment that would prevent the Department of Energy from spending money to enforce the mandates [insert sad trombone noise here]. 

Fingering “ideological manipulation,” TreeHugger's Brian Merchant calls the entire fracas “a political opportunity for the GOP to play to its Tea Party base on a relatively low-stakes platform. They conjure up the specter of Big Government taking away your freedom to pick a light bulb, spout ideological nonsense, rinse, and repeat.” I couldn't agree more. 

Political bickering aside, there’s no argument that bad lighting, no matter which type of bulb it comes from, is a bipartisan affair and needs to stop. This is where Cree, the chocolate Easter Bunny-melting manufacturer of energy-efficient LED light bulbs comes into the picture. Literally. 

To help celebrate the redesign of the revolution-leading company’s fabulous educational website, the past winners of Cries for Help, a photo contest where the public is encouraged to share cringe-inducing photos of dreary, oppressive lighting conditions, will be revisited in all of their regrettable glory all of this week on the Cree LED Revolution Blog.


As I mentioned back in April, the contest is simple: Each month, Cree picks one submitted photo as the “Best Example of Bad Lighting" and the person who submitted the winning photo walks away with five Cree CR6 downlights worth a total of $350 (read the complete contest rules here). The LED downlights themselves boast a lifespan of around 50,000 hours and consume a measly 10.5 watts while projecting the same light as a 65-watt incandescent bulb.

So there you have it, folks. If you’re sick and tired of all the light bulb-y nonsense going down in Washington, D.C. and want to involve yourself in something lighting-related that everyone can agree on, take a few minutes to gawk at highlights from Cree’s bad lighting hall of shame all this week — those are entrants from May and April in all of their dismal glory, above. And if you feel so obliged, enter your own photo of godawful lighting for this month’s contest. 

Bottom images courtesy Cree

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Cries for Help: Cree's bad lighting hall of shame
Take a cringe-inducing walk down memory lane with Cree as the LED innovator highlights — or low-lights, rather —past winners of Cries for Help, a monthly ph