Survey: Consumers warming to efficient lighting

With the 100-watt incandescent bulb set for phasing out in 2012, consumer awareness around more efficient lighting is growing, according to a consumer survey.

Compact florescent lights are the top choice for energy-efficient lighting but there's a high level of awareness for LEDs, according to a survey from Osram Sylvania.

The lighting company on Wednesday is expected to publish its third "socket survey" of consumers to measure the level of awareness around a government mandate for efficient lighting. Three hundred and nine consumers were surveyed by phone last month.

Consumers indicated they plan to switch from incandescent bulbs to CFLs, halogens, and LEDs. In terms of product features, these consumers valued brightness first, then longevity, and then energy efficiency.

The 2007 energy law required manufacturers to produce bulbs that are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. In 2012, bulbs in the 1490 lumen to 2600 lumen range--the equivalent of a 100-watt incandescent--cannot consume more than 72 watts. In 2013 and 2014, efficiency levels for less-bright bulbs go into effect.

The Osram Sylvania-sponsored survey found that consumer awareness around the mandate has grown over the past year. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they were aware of the mandate, a 10 percent increase from last year.

Over half of respondents have evaluated bulbs other than incandescents and 81 percent have heard of LEDs, with about 9 percent using them. After incandescents, CFLs are the most-used type of bulb, followed by halogens.

Thirteen percent of respondents said they plan to hoard 100-watt incandescent bulbs and 28 percent expressed worry about losing these traditional bulbs.

The trend toward more efficient lighting is stronger among business customers, according to a survey published in September by Osram Sylvania. Over 70 percent have evaluated efficient lighting and 73 percent said they are evaluating or plan to use LED lighting.

Lighting manufacturers are embracing LED technology because it offers a promising path toward steady efficiency improvements. The light quality of general-purpose LEDs and brightness has gotten to the point where manufacturers can market them for many uses.

Compared to EnergyStar-certified CFLs, LED bulbs are slightly more efficient when measured on lumens per watt and are designed to last much longer--sometimes over 20 years.

The price of LEDs, however, remains much higher than other technologies. Sylvania's 60-watt incandescent equivalent is expected to be available at Lowe's stores next month for just under $40 .

The price of LEDs is expected to fall. On Monday, Lighting Sciences Group introduced a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb, available through lighting stores next month and Home Depot in March, priced at $30 .

 

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