The saying, "you only have one chance to make a first impression" has never been so true than for the CFL. When the highly efficient light bulb was first introduced into the market two decades ago, even the most die-hard energy efficiency experts would agree the technology was probably not ready for prime time. The light output was low and the bulbs took a long time to "warm up". Those first versions of CFL bulbs left the market frustrated. Since then, through many upgrades to the CFL bulb, the market still holds a grudge. Many are not willing to admit that the CFL of today is a completely new generation of technology that far surpasses the bulb of yesteryear.
Diane Cardwell’s recent New York Times article,"LEDs Emerge as a Popular ‘Green’ Lighting" is a perfect example of this market grudge. While her article accurately describes the incredible growth LED lighting has seen in recent years, CFLs are really misjudged in the piece.
This article, like many articles we see on residential lighting options these days, describe CFLs as an alternative lighting choice that has left “many consumers dissatisfied”. Although this may have been the case ten or twenty years ago, this is just no longer accurate. ENERGY STAR’s 2010 CFL Market Profile reports that 86% of CFL consumers are satisfied with the CFLs in their homes. Today’s CFLs are not your parents CFLs, especially those that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR qualification includes numerous tests that ensure quality and performance.
As residential lighting continues to transition away from incandescent technologies, NEEP sees CFLs as a vital lighting option in that evolution. NEEP's Residential Lighting Strategy lays out a road map for how our region will move from a fairly modest saturation of high efficiency lighting to a point by 2020 where the vast majority of light bulb sockets are filled with high efficiency lighting. Visit the Northeast Residential Lighting Strategy on NEEP’s website.