Light is amazing. Not only is the lightbulb the international symbol for ideas and innovation, but lighting is one of humankind’s earliest technologies. From the first fires to candles to oil lamps, when Thomas Edison created the incandescent lightbulb in 1879, it was the best invention since—well, the lightbulb! However, though the bulb itself represented innovation, the incandescent technology used today is largely the same as in Edison’s time—hardly innovative.
From the residential perspective, it wasn’t until the 1990s that compact florescent bulbs became readily available to compete with incandescents, and those early CFLs were far from ideal. While they didn’t lose 90% of their energy in the form of heat, they frequently produced an unpleasant light, took a long time to warm up, buzzed, and in some cases were incompatible with certain household sockets. By the mid-2000s the industry had largely perfected the CFL, but their early counterparts haunted consumers' perspectives, and in many cases adoption of CFLs in homes has still not gone above 30% of sockets. In many homes, CFLs are used for some applications, but not for others. It is in this context that the light emitting diode (or LED) can really shine, as they are able to capture more of the characteristics of traditional incandescent while using only a fraction of the energy.
In NEEP’s world, lighting is really important. Within efficiency programs, lighting is the largest contributor to energy savings. In residential programs, lighting is cost-effective and requires relatively low incentives for large savings (a $5 or $10 incentive makes a much bigger difference on a lightbulb than for a refrigerator or TV). It is because residential lighting is so significant in energy efficiency that NEEP has created the Northeast Residential Lighting Strategy. The RLS charts developments in lighting; while the original RLS was released in early 2012, with so many recent changes in the lighting landscape we’ve already released a second update to keep up.
This 2013-2014 Update to the RLS provides a comprehensive overview of the most pressing issues in residential lighting efficiency today, as well as projections for the region moving forward. Though we recommend going right to the source, we understand that you may not have time to read through the entire report. So, we present the top 5 findings from the 2013-2014 Update:
5) What is the current status of lighting programs in the Northeast?
This report summarizes and highlights many recent evaluations and market research reports, including socket saturation surveys and hours of use studies. (pg 19)
4) What impact will government activities have on the lighting landscape?
This report provides the skinny on recent lamp specifications, including ENERGY STAR’s new Lamp Spec and the CA Quality LED Specification, as well as the great solid-state lighting resources that have recently come out of the U.S. DOE. (pg 24, 32)
3) What are some recent changes in the LED lighting market?
This report highlights key product development trends for LEDs, which will increasingly become a vital part of residential lighting program portfolios. (pg 25)
2) What should future efficiency program portfolios look like?
Our analysis shows that with the advancements in LED viability, programs will purposefully shift the majority of their promotions from CFLs to LEDs within five years. (pg 34)
1) What is the outlook for energy savings from residential lighting programs?
Our analysis concludes that residential lighting program savings will not only persist, but will grow in the next several years. Northeast Mid-Atlantic lighting program activity and budgets should continue to rise to claim these savings. (pg 34)
We hope that this list has enticed you to read the full report, online and available from neep.org. We’ll also be holding a informative webinar on Wednesday, 11/13 at 1pm EASTERN (register here). When it comes to residential lighting, we at NEEP are here to help the region shine!