Are We In The Dark About Lighting?

Results of SYLVANIA's second annual Socket Survey were released recently, shedding some light on Americans' knowledge and attitude towards that good ol' Edison invention: the light bulb.

The good news: 74 percent of Americans have switched to an energy-saving lamp, such as a CFL or LED, in the past year.

The bad news: Most Americans are still largely unaware of the impending federal phase-out of incandescent light bulbs, beginning with the 100-watt bulb in 2012.

In the face off between incandescents and their energy-efficient counterparts, the choice is clear. Even though they may cost more at the outset, you'll earn back the cost of the bulb and more over the next year.

In the face off between incandescents and their energy-efficient counterparts, the choice is clear. Even though they may cost more at the outset, you'll typically earn back the cost of the bulb and more over the next year.

The survey highlighted some important consumer trends, including the importance of energy consumption and the growth of CFL and halogen bulb use.

- 91 percent of respondents rate energy consumption per bulb as an important factor in lighting choice.
- CFLs continue to be second only to traditional incandescent bulbs, used in 71 percent of American homes.
- More than half of respondents (52 percent) consider price a key consideration in purchasing energy efficient lighting - a 12 percent spike from the 2008 survey.
- LED bulbs are beginning to gain followers, with 12 percent of respondents using the technology in their homes.

Calling 2010 a "year of education," consumer dollars are making a statement with companies like OSRAM SYLVANIA.

"The good news is there is a light at the end of the tunnel," said Rick Leaman, president and CEO. "But, the challenge will be leading the way to the future of next-generation lighting. Consumers have made it clear that the difference between cost and value is more important now than ever and the industry will need to respond swiftly, even as we continue to innovate."

Considering a switch to energy-efficient lighting? There is no better time than the new year, with resolutions and fresh ideas abound.

Earth911's "7 Resolutions, With a Green Twist" encourages us to set realistic goals, be specific and start small this New Year. May we suggest a resolution to change out 12 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient models this year? It's easy by updating just one bulb per month. While that may seem small, the return on investment (ROI) from something so simple may have you saving more greenbacks than you thought.

Lighting accounts for about 7 percent of a home's energy costs, according to GREENandSave. According to GREENandSave's ROI calculation, each replaced bulb will save an average of $4-7 per year, a ROI of 133.3 percent. Now that's a resolution we can easily keep!

  • Dennis

    However, a watt is still a watt – I often see where one 100 watt bulb in a old-fashioned porcelain socket on the ceiling would provide plenty of light – yet we put in a typical ceiling panel with 3 florescent tubes, burning together well over 100 watts – I am against the phasing out of 100 W incandescent light bulbs, though most of my condo is lit by florescent, with just a bit of LED lighting.

    You often saw this inefficiency in the 70’s, where you walked into a kitchen lit by florescent – more wattage was being used by putting the light where it wasn’t particularly needed – behind a false ceiling – and using many florescent tubes to flood the area with light.

    I work at a store that just opened a new store down the street, phasing out our old store. We have an energy-management system, which is supposed to save us about 20 grand a year in utilities – great. However, we have the same “sins” – ceiling panel lighting that provides too much light, when one old fashioned fixture every so often could use one 100 watt bulb, or a 15W or so florescent – instead of a ceiling panel fixture. Our automated lighting does not allow us to turn the lights off early on a holiday, and comes up as if we were open on the 1 day a year we close.

    Also, as I get older (47) I realize that if grandpa needs a particular lightbulb to comfortably read a book by, he has the right to use it – whether it uses a bit more energy or not. After all, lighting is not most of our electrical bill. I know a trip to the optometrist is coming up for me this year. Also, lighting is very closely related to depression in many cases – so if someone wants some regular light bulbs in their house, the government does not have the right to tell them they can’t have them.

    All this is coming from someone who loves florescent, for most things! But I also want the right to stick a regular old-fashioned light bulb in my sockets if we have power system problems (which is likely with our again power grid) where florescent bulbs may not work at all in these conditions.

    Let us not forget the problem with the LED traffic lights – no one thought about the fact that these new energy-efficient lights, which are very long lasting – do not get hot enough to melt the snow and ice accumulating around them. Now we have had many traffic accidents because motorists can not see the blocked by snow/ice traffic light. So we must design a little heating element or some fix to make the traffic lights visible during bad weather again – negating part of the energy savings –

  • Drew

    Long live the medium base! You know true inovation is here when the new product makes the users of the old product look foolish for using the old product. When an office building buy’s new recess lighting without medium bases and the plug-in CFL’s deplete fast and never come close to meeting thier 10,000 hour avg… then the ballast that runs them needs to be replaced every two years or so at a cost of $50. Well, frankly the user of the new “Inovation” devices looks pretty silly. Self ballasted meduim base CFL’s are ready for prime time but, the urge of the fixture makers to create proprietary bases and sockets is going to ruin what we are trying to accomplish (reduced carbon output). Smart building owners will learn fast that these new sockets are there to drive up the cost of the devices that light thier building. Under engineering worked well in the computor business and will create super profits in the lighting business. The moral of the story is that where the fixture has room a medium or candle base, they should be used for maximum lamp choice!

  • John Smith

    Not a word about mercury in CFLs!

  • DED

    There’s only 4 milligrams of Mercury in a CFL. It would take 125 of them to equal the amount in a thermometer. Also, by requiring less energy, it decreases the amount of coal required to generate electricity. Coal is the #1 source of Mercury pollution and coal is the #1 source of electricity in the USA.

    For more info:

  • David G. Wallace


  • Tod Buckingham

    Sylvania may be the brand name but I bet they are made in China! As for the mercury, sure 125 equals 1 thermometer but how many light bulbs are in the USA? Trust me, this will be an issue for landfills at some point in time…LEDs are the way to go, we are just not there yet.