Consumers will soon face new decisions when purchasing light bulbs, and many don't even know it yet. Beginning January 1, 2012, lighting manufacturers will no longer be producing the popular 100-watt incandescent light bulb. For professionals in the energy efficiency industry, this has been common knowledge since the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Although many consumers have been slow to understand the pending changes, awareness is trending upward, according to a recent survey by a prominent lighting manufacturer.
Osram Sylvania recently conducted its fourth annual Socket Survey, and results were released on November 15th. One of the most telling findings, according to Sylvania's press release, was that "for the first time since the study's inception in 2008, a majority of Americans (55 percent) reported that they are aware of 2007 congressional legislation that will phase-out most standard incandescent light bulbs." This is a marked increase, up from 21 percent in 2008 and 36 percent last year, but it still leaves close to half of Americans unaware of impending changes in their future lighting choices. This raises the question whether this lack of understanding is due to poor communication from manufacturers via advertising, the bombardment of misinformation through various media outlets, or other factors.
The aspects of EISA legislation affecting general purpose light bulbs will be enacted one step at a time. The first portion requires that manufacturers can only use 72 watts to create the same number of lumens as a standard 100-watt bulb. The next bulb to be eliminated will be the traditional 75-watt lamp in 2013, at which point they will be replaced by 53 watt bulbs.
Respondents plan to adjust to the approaching changes in a variety of ways. Only 13 percent of those surveyed said they plan to "Buy a lot of 100 watt light bulbs while they are still producing them and continue using them." This statistic contrasts nicely with the 100 watt bulb stockpiles that are so often portrayed. Thirty percent intend to stick with incandescents, but switch to lower wattage options. Most (53 percent) said that they plan to switch to newer lighting technologies, such as CFLs, LEDs or halogen.
While CFLs are more popular among those surveyed than in previous years, respondents who do not use them continue to cite cost, mercury content, light output and bulb shape as their primary concerns with the technology. Still, 68 percent of those polled currently have CFLs in their homes, compared to 87 percent using incandescents.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they currently use LEDs in their homes, and 80 percent had at least heard of the technology. This is actually higher than the 68 percent that said they were familiar with CFLs.
Full survey results can be found here.