Say what you will about Walmart, but the retail giant just made switching to LEDs a whole lot more affordable for customers across the U.S. This month, the company announced the launch of a Great Value line of LED lightbulbs for less than $10 at all of its U.S. stores – with a goal of making LEDs more accessible for consumers. The new line will be available exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide and Walmart.com.
Energy-efficient LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, use up to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last more than 25 times longer. These bulbs also contain no mercury – a common concern with their energy-sipping cousin, the CFL. That said, the upfront cost of LEDs is typically much higher than both incandescents and CFLs – which has proven to be a deal-breaker for many consumers on a budget.
The new line of Great Value LEDs includes 26 lightbulb types, including a non-dimmable 60-watt equivalent LED that will retail for $8.88; a dimmable 60-watt equivalent LED for $9.88; an indoor flood non-dimmable 65-watt equivalent LED for $14.88; and an indoor flood dimmable 65-watt equivalent for $15.88. To make it easier for consumers who may be unfamiliar with LED technology, product packaging clearly outlines wattage equivalency, estimated energy cost savings and incandescent cost comparisons on the front of the package.
“Walmart makes purchasing LED a simple choice for consumers through the new low price and package design that is easy to understand. Consumers get excellent light output that is more reliable, convenient, better for the environment and saves money in the long run,” Steve Bratspies, executive vice president of general merchandise for Walmart, said in a press release.
Building on a history of collaborative innovation between Walmart and General Electric, the retailer will also offer a new, dimmable 60-watt equivalent GE LED lightbulb for less than $11.
“GE and Walmart have worked in close concert for more than a decade to pioneer new applications for commercial LEDs,” said John Strainic, consumer lighting general manager for GE. “We’ve taken the good collaboration we’ve made with Walmart to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities, and are beginning to make the same in-roads in the consumer lighting aisle.”
Walmart started transitioning its own lighting to LED technology back in 2005, when it began using LED freezer case lighting to reduce energy consumption – now a retail standard. Since then, the company has incorporated LEDs into its parking lot and sales floor lighting in nearly all of its global markets.
It remains to be seen whether Walmart will seek Energy Star certification for its new LED line (on-package labeling indicates the products are not currently certified). According to Energy Star, it can take up to two weeks to get a product certified. So, this action may be pending, but it’s surely something to keep an eye on moving forward when assessing the true value of this affordable new option.
Image credit: Great Value Dimmable 60-watt Equivalent LED package courtesy of Walmart
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Mary also contributes to Earth911; her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.