As the common household incandescent bulb marches towards extinction (they’ll be completely phased out in the U.S. by 2014), the “battle of the bulb” heats up with CFLs, LEDs, and a new long-lasting contender, the ESL bulb, vying to take its place and usher in a new era of energy-efficient lighting.

Just this week, GE announced the release of the Energy Smart LED, a new omni-directional, 9-watt bulb designed to replace the common 40-watt incandescent bulb used in bedside and table lamps. According to GE, the life of the Energy Smart LED is 25,000 hours or 22.8 years (based on three hour/day usage) and offers a 77 percent energy savings when compared to 40-watt incandescent bulbs. It’s also the first A-Line LED bulb to receive an EnergyStar rating. 

The price?

Brace yourself: The Energy Smart LED sells for $50. It's admittedly a daunting price to pay for a single light bulb that will live (and perhaps outlive) your bedside lamp, but when you do the math (which GE has thankfully done for us) the dramatic cost becomes easier to swallow. With an estimated yearly cost of $1.08 versus $4.82 for a 40-watt incandescent (based on $.11 per kilowatt hour), a single Energy Smart LED can save homeowners $85 over the lifetime over the bulb.

Learn more about this innovative 40-watt substitute over at GE’s Energy Smart LED mini-site where you can also purchase the bulb now. Or, wait until January when the Energy Smart LED hits retail shelves. 

Do you think you’ll invest in a $50, 23-year light bulb? Has your attitude on investing in LED bulbs changed since I first blogged about the Energy Smart LED back in August (when it was expected to last 17 years, not nearly 23)? Or will you wait it out until LED technology expands, consumer interest grows, and sticker prices on incandescent-alternatives drop?

Also on MNN: Understanding the differences between CFL and incandescent bulbs

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

The 22.8-year switch: GE's Energy Smart LED
GE's new light bulb is designed to serve as a direct replacement for the beloved but energy-wasting 40-watt incandescent light bulb used in many household fixtu