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Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
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ENJOY | The Green Life

By Avital Binshtock

Cheese Graders | Trendsetter: Josie Maran | Eco-lighting | Green Biz: Second Growth

BULBS FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE

Incandescent lights are to modern bulbs as campfires are to furnaces. The old-school lightbulb wastes 90 percent of its energy creating useless heat. Even oddly spiraling CFLs and glaring LEDs may soon be in the dim past. Their descendants are multifunctional, gently luminous, and artistic. —Carolyn Cotney

Click on the lighting below for more information.

Slip this flat bulb into your wallet and you'll carry the light wherever you go. About the size of a credit card, the DOULEX LED turns on when it's flipped up and off when folded flat. Despite its kitschy look, the battery-powered LED comes in remarkably handy. (To achieve the same end, download the iPhone 4's free flashlight app.) $2 for white, $5 for other colors; amazon.com


Art meets function in the energy-saving PLUMEN 001, which lasts 8,000 hours—eight times longer than an incandescent bulb. View its organic lines and swirling symmetry from different angles to get the full effect of the shape-shifting optical illusion. The glowing sculptures landed in the United States from London last year. $30, plumenshopus.com


The U.S. Department of Energy awarded its Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize to the PHILIPS Ambient 12.5W LED. Mercury-free, it shone consistently through testing for thousands of hours (it'll last you 25,000). The dimmable device uses 80 percent less energy than a 60-watt incandescent and emits a soft white light. If every standard socket in America were switched to this bulb, annual CO2 emissions would decline by 20 million metric tons. $25, homedepot.com


SOLOVYOV DESIGN's brainy, energy-efficient Insight illuminates how an industry is rethinking energy conservation. The lamp, by Belarusian industrial designers Maria and Igor Solovyov, is still just a concept, but the duo's website says they're "interested in working with manufacturers worldwide." solovyovdesign.by


GIINII's AudioBulb is an LED with a built-in speaker and an easy screw-in setup. The wireless light and music system comes with two dimmable bulbs (life span: 30,000 hours), a dock for your music player, and a remote control. Choose stereo or mono sound, or just let the lights shine in silence. $300 for two bulbs, giinii.com


This article has been corrected.


NEXT: Green Biz: Second Growth



Photos by Lori Eanes (4), Insight: Courtesy of Solovyov Designs


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