You have probably heard about the controversial “incandescent bulb ban”. The ban, a result of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, basically outlawed the importation and domestic manufacturing of the most popular light bulb in the world. alternatives, mainly CFLs and LEDs, that were much more efficient than the old Edison bulb. Slowly phasing these inefficient bulbs was going to help spur the high-efficacy lighting market and drive a shift in the entire lighting industry.
Well as hard as it is to believe, government has changed its stance and recently the ban was defunded. One might think this would spell good news for the incandescent, that it Advancements in lighting created might get to live a little bit longer on shelves and in our homes. However, that may not be the case. According to many in the industry, we have already moved on and that WE, the average consumer, are driving the bus for the efficient lighting industry.
Mike Watson, Vice President of Product Strategy at Cree, is one of those believers. “What our industry must learn is that legislative priorities and advocacy, as seen this past December, continue to change. What doesn’t change, however, is consumer demand for better lighting alternatives that happen to be sustainable.” Even with the defunding of the phase-out, the efficient lighting market continues to experience significant growth. Manufacturers are producing more, retailers are pushing more, and consumers are buying more.
A lot of this growth can be attributed to a lower prices for high-efficacy bulbs and substantial advancements in the technology. There are now a number of LED options available at your local hardware store for under $10. LED bulbs are now come in a wide variety of brightness levels (lumens) and color temperatures (kelvin) are highly compatible with dimmers and smart controls. They are estimated to last up to 22 years and reduce energy consumption up to 85%. In short, they are better and cheaper than ever before.
It All Comes Down To The Light
Let’s face it, regardless of what is advertised, we probably won’t buy something if we don’t like it. So let’s remove all the other factors from the equation and just look at light vs light.
As a part of a residential lighting project for the state of New York, we have asked over 1,000 consumers which light source they prefer over another. (See our demonstration setup left) Three bulb types (CFL, LED, and Incandescent), all with similar specs (color temperatures, brightness, and wattage), illuminate the three boxes. The bulbs are hidden from plain sight so that participants were not able to determine bulb type based on shape. No smoke and mirrors here, no fine print, just a good old-fashioned side-by-side comparison.
59% of all participants chosethe LED bulb, compared to 25% preferring the trusty old incandescent and only 16% choosing the CFL. Outside of the energy and cost savings, compatibility, design features, etc. it is clearthat people just flat out like LED lights. True, it is a small sampling, but this trend has been consistent across several events with a variety of audiences indicating that the buzz around LEDs is very real.