The Rise of Energy Efficient Lighting
American consumers are continuing to trade in their traditional incandescent light bulbs for newer, energy efficient products, according to a new Osram Sylvania report. The survey found that 29 percent of US households no longer use incandescent bulbs, a 16 percent decrease in incandescent usage from a year earlier. The trend is likely influenced by federal legislation that has slowly phased out production of incandescent bulbs, but the report also found that 68 percent of households voluntarily switched their bulbs for greater efficiency.
It’s easy to see how the new energy efficient bulbs could have a huge impact on energy savings. The US government estimates that 12 percent of US electricity is used for lighting, and the average household spends 11 percent of its energy bill on lighting. And while switching light bulbs is an easy fix, consumers have hesitated because of high up-front costs and the perceived aesthetic drawbacks of energy efficient bulbs. New energy efficient bulbs, however, are making these problems a thing of the past.
Alternatives to incandescent bulbs currently include compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), which use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and light emitting diodes (LEDs), which can last up to an astonishing 50,000 hours. Prices for LEDs in particular are declining steadily with a 24 percent drop over the last two years, and experts predict prices could drop to as low as five dollars for the formerly expensive lights. Furthermore, advances in both CFLs and LEDs are addressing perceived aesthetic drawbacks. Newer lights are better at replicating the “warm” white glow many consumers love about incandescent bulbs. Many are also mercury-free, compatible with dimmer switches, and light up instantly, instead of requiring several seconds to warm up.
New technologies are eliminating the either-or dilemmas of earlier energy efficient bulbs. Consumers can now achieve energy efficiency savings without sacrificing aesthetics or suffering from high up-front costs. So what’s holding you back? If Virginians can collectively make the move away from incandescent bulbs, the state will make enormous progress towards the goal of 10 percent energy reduction. Take the