Lighting the Path Forward for Greater Energy Efficiency

EcoPinion Consumer Survey Points to Very High Levels of Adoption and Satisfaction with CFLs and LEDs; Americans Ready to Move Away from Traditional Bulbs

Washington, DC … EcoAlign, a strategic marketing agency in the energy sector, released the findings today of a consumer survey examining customer perceptions and expectations of more energy efficient lighting options (“CFLs” and “LEDs”) as compared with traditional incandescent lighting.  1,000 Americans nationwide responded to the survey conducted in late February 2011.

“Contrary to what you sometimes hear in the media and from some politicians, Americans have fully embraced more energy efficient lighting options such as CFLs and LEDs,” stated Jamie Wimberly, CEO of EcoAlign.  “Moreover, a large majority of Americans support higher efficiency standards mandated by the Federal government even if that means phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs.”

The top line findings from EcoPinion No. 10 include:

  • A majority of Americans have installed some type of energy efficient lighting in their homes, with two-thirds of Americans having installed CFLs in their home over the past year, and 27 percent say they have installed some sort of LED fixture in their home for general lighting purposes over the past year.
  • Americans are receptive to and highly satisfied with more energy efficient lighting options including CFLs and LEDs for general lighting purposes in their homes. Two-thirds of respondents gave CFL bulbs a top-three box overall performance rating and over half of Americans gave the highest ratings to LEDs.
  • The findings point to a premium pricing opportunity focused on quality of light and performance. In other words, Americans don’t necessarily buy the cheapest fixture on the market, with price being lower down the list of important considerations. Older Americans, in particular, value quality of light. This finding points to an interesting alignment between quality of life with quality of light.
  • As the price of energy efficient options comes down, the market penetration numbers will be even greater, especially for CFLs in the short term. Why? Because if cost is not a consideration, one-third of all Americans considers them to be better lighting options for their homes and would choose CFLs over other lighting options. One-fourth of Americans would prefer LEDs over other lighting options.
  • When asked to rate the best reasons for using energy efficient lighting, Americans value the energy efficiency aspect of lighting for the ability to “save energy” and “save money.”
  • Optimal messaging around CFLs differs somewhat from LEDs. The CFL focus should be on “efficient” for alignment with customer expectations and the value proposition. For LEDs, even though many consumers also appreciate the connection to efficiency, the focus should more on “bright” (translation: “quality of light”). “Expensive” was relatively more prominent as a defining descriptor for LEDs than CFLs.
  • Sixty percent of Americans were unaware of a federal law requiring a 28 percent improvement in lighting efficiency, effectively phasing out most traditional incandescent lamps. Yet, two-thirds of Americans feel that is a good idea for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be phased out over time and replaced by more energy efficient lighting solutions.
  • Traditional media is still very important as a source of information on lighting options, especially for older Americans (55+). Family and friends (“word of mouth”) is the second most important source, especially for women. Men do relatively more research online.
  • Many Americans (41 percent) do not know whether their utility offer incentives for energy efficient lighting. Yet, 87 percent of Americans think it is a good idea for there to be incentives for consumers to switch to energy efficient lighting options.

“The findings in this survey and previous EcoPinion surveys very clearly point to a fundamental shift in American attitudes towards energy efficiency,” stated Jamie Wimberly.  “Before, energy efficiency was all about saving – saving money, saving energy, saving the environment, and so on.  This is still important.  But now, efficiency seems to be more anchored in performance, meaning that more efficient products perform differently and better than less efficient products, and thus can command a premium.  For many, efficiency standards represent excellence and have become part of a broader national narrative connected to progress.”

EcoAlign is making the survey report available to the public at no charge.

EcoAlign is the energy and environment marketing agency and a wholly-owned affiliate of DEFG LLC. We develop and execute marketing strategies for utilities, renewable energy providers and vendors operating in the energy and environment space. We are uniquely suited to help companies achieve their business objectives, from reaching efficiency program targets and improving customer satisfaction, to launching new products, increasing market share and repositioning for growth in the clean tech space.

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