Signs of Things to Come: Residential Lighting Programs Escalate Focus on LEDs

LEDs are steadily moving to the forefront of retail shelves as energy efficiency programs continue to financially support their widespread adoption. With the cheapest ENERGY STAR certified LEDs costing about $10 each, efficiency program rebates are necessary if prices are to come close to other alternatives. Strong signals, however, are indicating that the LED invasion is beginning to gain some ground.

While LEDs only account for a small sliver of the entire residential lighting market, they are seeing substantial increases in their shares of residential energy efficiency program pies. The hikes in LED program shares in the last two years alone are astounding. Market transformation of residential lighting is well on its way if efficiency programs continue to tilt their scales in favor of LEDs.

Efficiency programs in the region have been tirelessly promoting efficient lighting for years.  In 2014, the number of bulbs moving through efficiency programs was at an all-time high, with the DC Sustainable Energy Utilities (DC-SEU) promoting an average of 4 efficient bulbs for each household in the District, and Massachusetts not far behind with an average of 3.4 bulbs per household.  All of the programs in the region have been including LEDs in their residential lighting promotions, and 2014 was expected to have the highest level of LED promotion yet. So how exactly did program performances measure up to their lofty goals?  Data from the first three quarters in 2014 shows that program activity for the majority of the region raced passed 2013 actuals like they were standing still and far exceeded planned program goals. 


Total Units/Household

2013 LED Actuals

2014 LED Goals

2014 LED Actuals Through Q3


2.8 15% 22% 39%


4.0 4% 22% 23%

Long Island PSE&G

2.4 26% 27% 38%


3.4 15% 13% 20%

New Hampshire

0.5 11% 11%  


0.1 47% 44% 44%

Rhode Island

2.9 9% 14% 20%


2.7 20% 31% 31%


For instance, the Connecticut retail lighting program set a slightly higher goal of 22% LED for 2014 than its actual program share of 15% in 2013. Connecticut’s program only needed three quarters of the year to rocket passed its goal and, through September of 2014, measured in at a whopping 39% LED program market share. Similar trends can be traced in other states where 2014 program activity not only exceeded 2014 goals before the year’s end, but also dwarfed 2013 performances significantly. Program administrators are firing on all cylinders and surmounting LED program share goals by huge margins. Several program administrators have pursued bulk procurement for their direct install efforts to reduce lighting product costs to their programs and, ultimately, to ratepayers. Lower LED costs obtained from these efforts have helped support increased LED installations in low income, single family, multifamily, and new construction programs.

What’s clear from 2014 program performances is that program administrators are backing LED adoption with a feverish focus that will undoubtedly keep lighting in the residential energy efficiency program spotlight. Overshooting goals by such grand proportions shows what’s possible in the short-term and sets the bar high for programs moving forward. If programs continue to receive adequate funding to bring LEDs down to price competitive levels and educate consumers on their benefits, LEDs will not only be abundant on store shelves but also in the sockets of our homes. 

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