Let there be (energy-efficient) light

Let there be (energy-efficient) light

Summary: Somehow, over the past few months, the federal law calling for better lighting efficiency starting in 2012 became a bad thing within a certain element of the U.S.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware
67

Somehow, over the past few months, the federal law calling for better lighting efficiency starting in 2012 became a bad thing within a certain element of the U.S. political scene. But a new consumer survey by marketing group EcoPinion suggests that many Americans think the phaseout is a good deal.

That report, called "Lighting the Path Forward to Greater Energy Efficiency," notes that two-thirds of Americans think it is a good idea for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be switched out and replace with more energy-efficient technologies. The largest percentage of those who don't think this is a good idea came from survey respondents more than 55 years old. (The survey population included 1,000 online interviews conducted in February 2011 and selected to approximately mirror the U.S. population.)

As you might expect, the most widely adopted energy-efficient lighting format among the survey respondents was CFLs: approximately two-thirds had purchased at least some of them. But the EcoPinion research also suggests a higher awareness for light-emitting diode (LED) technology than one might expect. (My gut is that's because of the widespread use of LEDs in computer notebook displays and television screens.)

Here are some other data point highlights:

  • When asked what lighting technology they would prefer, in the absence of price considerations, only 12 percent of respondents chose traditional bulbs. Younger respondents were more apt to favor LEDs.
  • The top three attributes when consider lighting solutions are: quality of light, overall performance, and energy efficiency. Price ranks fourth behind those other factors.
  • 41 percent of the respondents didn't know whether or not their utility company offers incentives for energy-efficient lighting.

Topic: Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

67 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Sure, I'd buy an electric car

    Price ranks fourth.

    OK, now I'll tell one. Two ducks walk into a bar...
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @Robert Hahn
      You do realize that the price per year for incandescent light bulbs is significantly higher, when you actually consider the bill and replacement, right?
      hoaxoner
      • I'm in favor of peace and justice. Motherhood, too.

        @hoaxoner You do realize that people answer polls by telling the pollsters what they want to hear, right? This is why surveys say lots of people are champing at the bit to buy an electric car, but when Nissan and Chevy actually offer them, fewer than a thousand in a country of 350 million actually buy one.
        Robert Hahn
      • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

        @hoaxoner If he realizes these costs, his wallet will tell him that - not Washington.
        JT82
      • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

        @hoaxoner That's a misconception. With the higher price of the cfl, it will burn out well before you realize the equivalent savings in electrical usage. I have had 2 cfl's catch fire. Lowes says they see this quite often, GE claims they haven't heard of it. No CFL's for me! LED's are too expensive at the moment.
        20kwfence
      • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

        @20kwfence Interesting... I have CFLs all throughout my house and never had a fire. In fact, I never even heard of such an event. Yet, you were able to experience two such events.... interesting.
        david08048
      • You do realize that these new bulbs contain mercury

        You obviously practice liberal economic. The new so called green bulbs (cfl) if they break create an environmental hazard that is much more harmful than incandescent light bulbs.
        Canuckinnh
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      Let us see; save money by saving energy by using curly lights. They last longer and are more efficient using energy. DID YOU KNOW ALL OF THIS IS A LIE! First they do not last longer, and in fact in my experience they last a shorter period of time. Second they are not more energy efficient BECAUSE they take more energy to make than they save in use. Thirdly, did you know they have mercury in them so technically you cannot just throw them away and if you break one call HASMAT. This stuff is being foisted off on us by people who do not have a clue about how to assess cost, life span, and environmental impact.
      MikeBytes
  • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

    @JT82

    Green and energy efficient aren't mutually inclusive. If CFL's use Mercury, (Not all do BTW), then you use LEDs. It is a good idea as it does cut down energy usage. The next step is phasing out Mercury from the lamps and we're all set. and FYI I'm 25. I used to work for a lithging company and know the differences in the types of lamps. LEDs are an up and coming tech, but depending on the type they can spew a lot of heat and direct view into the light beam can be harmful to the eyes. Specifid LED lighting tech would need to be used. And on top of this the lighting quality can get diminished using them, but all of this will improve in time.
    KBot
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @KBot I would love to see LED lighting and move beyond the CFL tech, however LED lighting isn't suitable for primetime. The bulbs I've tried spew a horrible temperature color and (what appeared to be) 50% less lumens.

      The LED's that are worth something are still far too expensive ($30-50 per bulb is insane). If we had competition in the marketplace, these prices would plunge.
      JT82
  • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

    @JT82 - This is NOT about market forces. This is about lowering the energy usage of the country as a whole. Personally, I would much rather switch to some other light bulb technology than build another power plant.

    The interesting question is WHICH other light bulb technology. Currently, CFL is the ONLY cost effective choice. Yes, there is mercury. No, the mercury is not a problem if handled correctly. In fact, less of a problem than nuclear waste from electric plants.

    Given that even 40 watt LED light bulbs are >$5.00 per bulb, I am unlikely to buy them. I like the newly announced hybrid bulb with halogen for early start and CFL for low power. That overcomes my biggest complaint for CFL.

    Hopefully, market forces will take hold soon and alternative bulbs will become more cost effective.
    hornerea
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @hornerea
      LED prices will drop. That 40W bulb that is over $5.00 actually uses 6W or fewer and lasts a long time. LED is definitely the way to go. Instant on, less energy consumed, and longer life span.
      hoaxoner
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @hornerea It's not about "lowering the energy" for the country as a whole, its about destroying America. I find it funny that no CFL's are manufactured here, only the old incandecent bulbs and more workers are going to be out of work. Again, why should Government tell me how to spend my money, heat my home, light my home, or what food to put on the table? They have no right. Again, a true free market will not only foster innovation (when energy prices get too high, people will change) but it will cause true and permanent change, not temporary.

      Sure mercury bulbs are safe when handled [b]properly[/b], and how many are going to do that? I guarantee you less than 10% of the people will actually reponsibily recycle them, thus putting more mercury in our landfills. I already use CFL's for every bulb in my house over 25 watts and I do responsibly handle them, however I'm in the minority I guarentee it. Oh not to mention, if you have a bulb break in your home you essentially have a HAZMAT situation.
      JT82
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @JT82
      The largest manufacturer of CFLs is, you guessed it, GE. No, they don't manufacture anything here. Who does manufacture anything of worth here? Give up? Toyota. I think you need to strongly reconsider your position on 'destroying' America. The signs were on the wall well before any mandate to cut energy consumption. Additionally, do you have any idea how much mercury gets spewed into god knows where from coal fired power plants? http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/01/02/us-tva-coal-pollution-idUSTRE5013BO20090102

      You do realize that if the United States got its energy use under control, cheaply, and I also am discussing the costs associated with Middle Eastern wars in oil producing countries, a large number of industries would return.
      hoaxoner
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @hornerea I agree that America does need to get it's energy in check, but having Government force it is disingenious to what this Country stands for. Competition in the marketplace is what will drive this, not Washington.
      JT82
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @hornerea
      Industry has gotten too large for there to be any real competition for change that isn't government mandated. Without regulation, there would be no internalization of externalities. And that is an unfortunate thing. However, this is why idealistic theories do not work. People game the system.
      hoaxoner
    • Let's do it my way

      @hornerea <ul><i>This is NOT about market forces. This is about lowering the energy usage of the country as a whole. Personally, I would much rather switch to some other light bulb technology than build another power plant.</i></ul>
      "Market forces" are nothing more than the actions of millions of individual people voting with their wallets. What you're saying is that you know better than they do how they should spend their money, so you want to use government to impose your own preferences on everyone... for their own good as determined by the expert in your head.
      Robert Hahn
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @hornerea
      [i]"Industry has gotten too large for there to be any real competition for change that isn't government mandated. Without regulation, there would be no internalization of externalities. And that is an unfortunate thing. However, this is why idealistic theories do not work. People game the system."[/i]

      Wow - not to interject politics here but that's spoken like a true Democrat. Just because the rest of the Country doesn't hold your idealistic "hippy tree hugger" view of saving the world through Government regulation, doesn't make them wrong.

      No industry is too large for the absence of a customer to provide products to. If/when people are tired of paying high costs to light their homes, people will switch out in droves. That's how a free market works. It's not a fast process, its glacially slow - however it's the best way to form permanent and lasting change.
      JT82
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @hornerea
      "No industry is too large for the absence of a customer to provide products to. If/when people are tired of paying high costs to light their homes, people will switch out in droves. That's how a free market works. It's not a fast process, its glacially slow - however it's the best way to form permanent and lasting change."

      Amen. Governments that try to plan markets will always fail. I don't have a problem with the government subsidizing emerging markets for a brief period of time, but only if the market is clearly already going in that direction. Forcing people to buy inferior products is a bad idea.
      rynning
    • RE: Let there be (energy-efficient) light

      @hornerea

      Free Market is great, just walk into a McDonalds or KFC. Then go look at your taxes and health insurance. ?FREE? market is great.
      ben2025