Two-Thirds of Americans Support Phaseout of Inefficient Lighting

Two-Thirds of Americans Support Phaseout of Inefficient Lighting

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 phaseout of inefficient bulbs, research shows.

The finding was one of several surprises in results released yesterday by EcoAlign, which conducted online interviews of 1,000 Americans last month. The study -- the tenth EcoPinion survey by the strategic marketing agency -- 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."

Other key findings detailed in the report include:

  • A majority of respondents said they installed energy efficient lighting in their homes in the past year. Two-thirds said they installed CFLs, and 27 percent said  they installed an LED fixture for general lighting.
  • 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 is not the first EcoPinion survey, so all this accumulated data and facts continue to come in despite a drumbeat against energy efficiency standards, " Wimberly told GreenBiz.com and GreenerBuildings.com.

The most recent EcoPinion 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 phaseout of inefficient traditional bulbs.

The phaseout, 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 sunsetting of traditional bulbs. His company's recent survey shows that Americans welcome the move to more energy efficient lighting and, just as significantly, that their interest in efficient lighting now extends beyond savings, Wimberly noted.

"Before, energy efficiency was framed just around savings -- saving energy, saving the environment, saving costs," Wimberly said. While savings still has value to consumers, he said, "increasingly, Americans are putting a premium on performance."

All of which 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."

Details of the survey results are available in the latest EcoPinion report, which can be downloaded for free with registration at www.ecoalign.com.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user derekGavey.