Majority of Americans Still in the Dark About Federal Phaseout of Traditional Bulbs

CLEVELAND, OH — More Americans are buying energy efficient lighting and are aware of the energy-saving benefits -- but most are clueless about the phaseout of incandescent bulbs that starts in two years.

Those are the main findings of a study by GE Lighting, whose research results are similar to those of a study conducted by Osram Sylvania.

GE's research showed that 82 percent of 1,519 homeowners surveyed online said they currently use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at home  -- though apparently not exclusively because 80 percent said they also use incandescent bulbs.

Fifty-two percent said they plan to buy more CFLs in future and are motivated to do so by energy savings.

Yet about 75 percent said they are not aware of the impending federal requirement for greater energy efficiency that will lead to the phaseout of less efficient lighting.
 
Osram Sylvania found that 74 percent of the people it surveyed had switched to an energy-saving light bulb in the past year and almost 75 percent were unaware of the upcoming changes affecting lighting.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 calls for a transition to more energy efficient lighting starting January 1, 2012, when 100-watt incandescent bulbs will no longer be sold. Seventy-five-watt traditional bulbs are the next go in 2013. Sales of 40- and 60-watt bulbs become a thing of the past in 2014.

"We're not sensing a rush by consumers to comply with the looming federal standards," Kathy Sterio, GE Lighting's general manager of consumer marketing said in a prepared statement.

"There's a major shift to CFLs but it's clearly is a matter of educated consumers choosing CFLs for their strengths," she said. "Our marketing, advertising and packaging have espoused the value of energy-efficient CFLs for over a decade."

CFLs use much less energy and last longer than standard bulbs. GE says its Energy Smart CFLs use a quarter of the energy consumed by incandescent bulbs, last as much as 10 times longer and gives off less heat.

People responding to the company's survey said that economic constraints have influenced where they now buy light bulbs. Twenty-six percent said have changed their habits and now favor low-price retailers, dollar stores and club stores.

Images courtesy of GE.