September 23, 2019

State of the Art: Cheaper LED Bulbs Make It Easier to Switch Lights

You don’t have to be one of those self-defeating rubes. Start buying LED light bulbs.

You’ve probably seen LED flashlights, the LED “flash” on phone cameras and LED indicator lights on electronics. But LED bulbs, for use in the lamps and light sockets of your home, have been slow to arrive, mainly because of their high price: their electronics and heat-management features have made them much, much more expensive than other kinds of bulbs.

That’s a pity, because LED bulbs are a gigantic improvement over incandescent bulbs and even the compact fluorescents, or CFLs, that the world spent several years telling us to buy.

LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we’re talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out. (Actually, LED bulbs generally don’t burn out at all; they just get dimmer.)

You know how hot incandescent bulbs become. That’s because they convert only 5 to 10 percent of your electricity into light; they waste the rest as heat. LED bulbs are far more efficient. They convert 60 percent of their electricity into light, so they consume far less electricity. You pay less, you pollute less.

But wait, there’s more: LED bulbs also turn on to full brightness instantly. They’re dimmable. The light color is wonderful; you can choose whiter or warmer bulbs. They’re rugged, too. It’s hard to break an LED bulb, but if the worst should come to pass, a special coating prevents flying shards.

Yet despite all of these advantages, few people install LED lights. They never get farther than: “$30 for a light bulb? That’s nuts!” Never mind that they will save about $200 in replacement bulbs and electricity over 25 years. (More, if your electric company offers LED-lighting rebates.)

Surely there’s some price, though, where that math isn’t so off-putting. What if each bulb were only $15? Or $10?

Well, guess what? We’re there. LED bulbs now cost less than $10.

Nor is that the only recent LED breakthrough. The light from an LED bulb doesn’t have to be white. Several companies make bulbs that can be any color you want.

I tried out a whole Times Square’s worth of LED bulbs and kits from six manufacturers. May these capsule reviews shed some light on the latest in home illumination.

3M ADVANCED LED BULBS On most LED bulbs, heat-dissipating fins adorn the stem. (The glass of an LED bulb never gets hot, but the circuitry does. And the cooler the bulb, the better its efficiency.) As a result, light shines out only from the top of the bulb.

But the 3M bulbs’ fins are low enough that you get lovely, omnidirectional light.

These are weird-looking, though, with a strange reflective material in the glass and odd slots on top. You won’t care about aesthetics if the bulb is hidden in a lamp, but $25 each is unnecessarily expensive; read on.

CREE LED BULBS Cree’s new home LED bulbs, available at Home Depot, start at $10 apiece, or $57 for a six-pack. That’s about as cheap as they come.

The $10 bulb provides light equivalent to that from a 40-watt incandescent. Cree’s 60-watt equivalent is $14 for “daylight” light, $13 for warmer light.

The great thing about these bulbs is that they look almost exactly like incandescent bulbs. Cree says that its bulbs are extraordinarily efficient; its “60-watt” daylight bulb consumes only nine watts of juice (compared with 13 watts on the 3M, for example). As a result, this bulb runs cooler, so its heat sink can be much smaller and nicer looking.

E-mail: pogue@nytimes.com

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/technology/personaltech/cheaper-led-bulbs-make-it-easier-to-switch-lights.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

German Central Bank Leader Joins Critics In Lecturing France on Government Debt

FRANKFURT — The head of the German central bank said Monday that France should not give up trying to bring its government deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product, adding to the criticism being heaped on President François Hollande of France from abroad.

Jens Weidmann, president of the Bundesbank, framed his rebuke in the language of French-German solidarity and was considerably more diplomatic than Maurice M. Taylor Jr., the head of the American tire maker Titan International, who touched off a furor last week when he told the French industry minister that French workers were lazy.

Still, Mr. Weidmann was the latest prominent person to lecture the increasingly defensive French on how they should manage their economy.

Speaking in Paris at the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, a leading business school, Mr. Weidmann noted that unemployment in France was above 10 percent while France’s share of world exports had declined by 25 percent since the euro made its debut. Total government debt “has reached a level that could potentially hurt growth,” Mr. Weidmann said.

France would undermine confidence in its prospects if it delayed efforts to control deficit spending, he said.

“Putting consolidation off would just shift the problem into the future,” Mr. Weidmann said. “It would buy time but in so doing also worsen matters today as there is the risk that trust in public finances would erode even more.”

The tone of Mr. Weidmann’s speech was polite and even included a joke at Germany’s expense. (“How many Germans do you need to change a light bulb? One: he holds the light bulb, and the rest of Europe revolves around him.”)

Mr. Weidmann invoked the durable, if sometimes contentious, relationship between France and Germany, which has always been crucial to the functioning of the European Union. “Only together can France and Germany solve the current crisis,” he said.

But he said that the largest countries in the European Monetary Union had a responsibility to set an example for other members. “It is in my view particularly important for the heavyweights in E.M.U. to give clear signals,” he said.

France’s government budget deficit will be 3.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, while Germany will have a slight surplus, the European Commission forecast last week. When European countries formed a common currency, they agreed to keep their deficits below 3 percent of G.D.P., though the target has often been breached.

Mr. Weidmann acknowledged that budget austerity might hurt growth but said countries had no choice. “It is important that governments adhere to the consolidation plans they announced,” he said. “This will inspire confidence, which is an important prerequisite for the economy to grow.”

He rejected suggestions by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund and a former French economics minister, that Germany should somehow become less competitive to give other countries a chance.

“The deficit countries must act,” Mr. Weidmann said. “They must address their structural weaknesses. They must become more competitive, and they must increase their exports.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/business/global/bundesbank-president-says-france-needs-to-control-its-deficit.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

You’re the Boss Blog: A Tutoring Company in Search of a Tag Line

She Owns It

Portraits of women entrepreneurs.

Alexandra Mayzler, Thinking Caps TutoringSuzanne DeChillo/The New York Times Alexandra Mayzler, Thinking Caps Tutoring

For the last couple of months, Alexandra Mayzler, a member of the She Owns It business group, has struggled to come up with a new tag line for her company, Thinking Caps Tutoring. Thinking Caps, which she started in her college dorm room, has outgrown its current tag, “Students teaching students.” Settling on something new that both sounds good and differentiates the company has been so difficult that she wonders how she ever came up with the first one.

Ms. Mayzler recently asked the group for feedback on one of her latest ideas. She said she had lost any sense of what was good or bad and was trying to choose just a handful of tag lines to test on a focus group of parents — the people who pay for Thinking Caps’ tutoring services.

“Right now we’re at ‘Find your brilliance,’” she said, adding that the logo included a cartoon character with a light bulb over its head (visible at the top left of Thinking Caps’ Web site). The character will become more hip after a planned makeover. Ms. Mayzler said she wanted to steer clear of talking about results. “It’s about finding your own individual brilliance,” she said.

“I like the light bulb,” said Beth Shaw, who owns YogaFit.

Deirdre Lord, who owns the Megawatt Hour, thought the appeal to each student’s individuality was effective.

“When I picture the light bulb with the slogan, it all comes together,” said Jessica Johnson, the owner of Johnson Security Bureau.

What do you think of “Find your brilliance”? Do you have a better idea?

You can follow Adriana Gardella on Twitter.

Article source: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/a-tutoring-company-in-search-of-a-tagline/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Square Feet | The 30-Minute Interview: Mike Kirby

 

Q How did the firm get started?

A I was 24 — straight out of University of Chicago business school — when I started the company with Jon Fosheim. He stayed for 20 years, then went off to start up a hedge fund. We started Green Street to do something a little different than what it now does: we were looking for opportunities in the junkyard, basically distressed properties.

We came across a couple of REITs that bankers were having problems with, and did our own due diligence. We came to the conclusion, in the case of one, that the company was worth less than zero. Then we came across a research report by a major Wall Street house that said this company was a $12 stock and that they just did an equity offering. That’s when the light bulb went on over our heads that a) nobody really understood the real estate in REITs; and b) the conflicts were pretty egregious.

Q How have REITs changed since you began tracking them?

A REITs were a $10 billion niche; now it’s about $350 billion. We follow over 90 percent of the market cap of U.S. REITs and now over 50 percent of the market cap in European REITs. Our business grows as the industry grows.

Q What is your assessment of the domestic REIT market?

A REITs had a great 2.5-year run: they delivered total returns of 27 percent two years ago and 20 percent last year, and this year they’re up something like 10 percent year to date. That’s the good news. The bad news is, that came on the heels of a 75 percent drop.

Q So what does this mean for average investors?

A Most people should be 5 to 10 percent in real estate; it’s an asset class that tends to zig when other things zag, and so it’s a good diversifier. To the investor already in REITs, it’s probably not a bad idea to be on the lighter side of allocation. Today we sort of view the valuations as on the rich side.

Q Who are your main clients?

A Generally mutual fund managers or pension fund advisers.

Q Are you bullish on any commercial property sectors now?

A The one sector that’s just on fire is apartments, and this is true in New York and nationwide. So what’s happened in apartment land is, the fundamentals didn’t weaken as much as in the other sectors. During the downturn, they were supported by the fact that the homeownership rate declined through the recession, creating more demand for apartments. Meanwhile, there’s been very little construction in the last few years, and really there won’t be any in another year or two. That has been sort of a perfect storm for apartments.

Q How is the New York office market faring?

A New York is doing better right now from a fundamental and a valuation perspective. We didn’t see anything near the layoffs we feared we might during the downturn, and there is increasing demand. You’re also seeing rents jump up.

If you’re buying in New York today, you really have to be pretty bullish that New York is always going to be the dominant place that attracts the best and the brightest of whatever industry, which has certainly been true over the last 20 years.

Q Do you have any numbers?

A During the trough in early- to mid-’09, Manhattan office values went down over 50 percent, and since then they’ve rallied up 78 percent from the trough. So today we’re 15 to 20 percent lower than the ’07 peak.

Q A couple of years ago it was difficult even to put a value on many properties.

A Right, it was pretty much a guessing game. The market is pretty liquid now. Pricing among higher-quality property has really skyrocketed in the past two years. I think that’s going to level off because we’re going to see a lot more stuff get put up for sale.

Q That’s good for all the cash-ready institutions, like REITs, waiting on the sidelines to buy.

A In the last year they’ve had trouble finding enough stuff to buy. A lot of REITs are well positioned to take advantage of any buying opportunities. I don’t think they’re going to be necessarily distressed sales. There will be bidding contests.

Q Your bio says you were born on Christmas.

A It’s kind of nice having a birthday on Christmas once you’re older, because then you could either ignore it or at least you’ve got all your family around.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=08d54d195c478f9e9e5b57d31e9b8398