Would You Buy a $40 Light Bulb?

Maybe you should.

This week, Philips Lighting said that its AmbientLED 12.5-watt bulb — which, just to confuse you, is also sold under the Philips EnduraLED brand — has qualified for a EPA’s Energy Star rating. That means that it’s an efficient and, quite possibly cost-effective alternative to the 60-watt bulb, even with a $39.97 list price at Home Depot.

Here’s how the math works, at least according to Philips:

A conventional 60-watt bulb lasts about 1,000 hours, uses 60 watts of electricity (duh) and costs $180 to run for 25,000 hours.

The LED equivalent lasts 25,000 hours (nearly three years if you left it on 24/7), uses 12.5 watts and costs $37.50 to run for 25,000 hours.

That assumes electricity costs of 12.5 cents/kwh, slightly higher than average across the U.S. but a lot less that you pay in high-cost states like California.

Practically a bargain, no?

The Energy Star rating matters because it means that the bulb, which is evidently the first LED bulb in its category to qualify, can earn you a rebate from your local utility. There’s more on the rebates here from the U.S. Department of Energy. Each state has its own rebate program, forms to fill out, etc. Fun.

Better news is that for now Phillips is offering a $10 cash rebate on the bulb.

CNET’s Martin Lamonica wrote last fall:

I have been using an early production version of the Philips bulb around my house for the last few days. At first blush, I’d say this is the sort of product that could finally help nudge out the beloved, if wasteful, incandescent bulb.