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At GoodBulb, we strive to improve your lighting know-how. Through blogs, presentations and one-on-one consultations, GoodBulb aims to help you not only understand how lighting works, but how to chose the best bulbs for your lifestyle. We provide the knowledge to empower you to light your world.

No More Bad Bulbs: Planned obsolescence and the lightbulb industry

“Hey Tom, what’s something you wish people knew about the lighting industry?”

We sat down with GoodBulb Chief Lighting Officer, Tom Enright, to ask him what he wishes people knew about the lighting industry. Here’s what he wanted to share. Get ready for this one guys…

Have you ever heard of planned obsolescence?

Planned Obsolescence… we have to make sure we spell that one correctly.

Here’s a quick breakdown: planned obsolescence is a business strategy in which the manufacturer strategically plans for the product to become obsolete— unfashionable, or unusable. 

Think of Apple products notoriously slowing down over time, or after a new software update— or different models of cars being deemed ‘out of style’ after a certain amount of time. All of this is a strategy, and all of this is a business strategy. It’s now illegal in many countries. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still happening.

This is where lighting comes in. Planned obsolescence has long been a part of the lightbulb and electric industry. Look up the Phoebus Cartel. This was a group formed in 1925 when the leading electric companies (General Electric, Philips, Osram, and others) had a meeting in Geneva, with the specific purpose of planned obsolescence—making lightbulbs burn out FASTER. 

You see, until the formation of this cartel, lightbulb manufacturing was finding ways to make light bulbs last for thousands of hours. The cartel agreed that, at risk of a hefty fine, each company would manufacture lightbulbs to last only 1,000 hours. And they did it. Records show a downward trend in lightbulb hours from that point on.

Although the group dissolved around World War II, planned obsolescence in the lighting industry is still happening today. As someone who’s been in the lightbulb industry for over 20 years, you get to know the ins and outs. That’s why Tom, as GoodBulb Chief Lighting Officer, is adamant that we are transparent with our customers and provide only the best quality. Yes, they may cost more—but it’s because they will last longer. They will save you money. They will give you a better light. GoodBulbs are truly better bulbs.

Will you help us share the word? Share this post and #NoBadBulbs. We believe you deserve honesty, and you deserve quality products. Let’s break the cycle and share the truth.

GoodBulb High Quality LED Lighting
Tom Enright with a shipment of GoodBulb high quality LED lightbulbs.