Americans support phase-out of inefficient lighting

Nationwide survey reveals that a large majority of Americans are “receptive and highly satisfied” with CFLs and LEDs.


A majority of Americans believe that doing away with traditional incandescent lightbulbs is a good idea, despite a campaign to roll back government policy for the upcoming phase-out of inefficient bulbs, research shows.

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The finding was one of several surprises in results released by EcoAlign, a strategic marketing agency, which conducted online interviews of 1,000 Americans in March. The study focused on consumer perceptions and expectations of energy efficiency lighting.

"We expected to find some traction and greater market penetration for more energy efficient lighting; yet the findings point to much greater levels of support for energy efficient lighting than originally anticipated," said EcoAlign CEO Jamie Wimberly in the report entitled "Lighting the Path Forward for Greater Energy Efficiency."

"Americans really like CFLs," Wimberly wrote. "We also expected that LEDs would hardly be registering ... yet the findings show that consumers are ahead of expert opinion in many ways for LEDs."

Americans are "receptive to and highly satisfied" with energy efficient lighting options including CFLs and LEDs. Two‐thirds of the respondents gave CFL bulbs a "top‐three box" overall performance rating and more than half the respondents gave their highest ratings to LEDs.

This survey and a similar poll by USA Today were conducted about a month after Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and almost two dozen other House Republicans proposed a bill that would halt the phase-out of inefficient traditional bulbs.

The phase-out, which is set to begin in January 2012 and run to 2014, is among the provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act. Then-President Bush signed the bipartisan legislation into law at the end of 2007. Barton's bill, which now has 54 cosponsors, was referred to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

"I just really think they are missing the narrative shift among consumers," Wimberly said of proponents in the effort to stop the phase-out of traditional bulbs. "Before, energy efficiency was framed just around savings–saving energy, saving the environment, saving costs… Increasingly, Americans are putting a premium on performance."

This means that consumers don't always reach for the cheapest green bulb on the store shelf. They're looking for products that can deliver a better quality of light in addition to lasting longer and using less energy, according to the EcoAlign survey results.  And in a further bit of good news for the lighting industry, the report said survey findings "point to a premium pricing opportunity focused on quality of light and performance."

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