If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Friday, March 23, 2012

US sales of CFLs have fallen since 2007

Thank you to Howard Brandston for this information, via his Facebook page (the "wall" page can be read by anybody logged in).
Incidentally, keep a watch on Howard's website commentary - he is shortly launching a campaign on a new Facebook page. Given his status as renowned lighting designer and congressional consultant on lighting matters, it will hopefully get a good following.

Last week NEMA, the electrical equipment association to which light bulb manufacturers belong and which (as not least seen from Howard's e-book) was heavily involved in pushing for and welcoming the "phase out" of simple incandescent bulbs, published a US sales lighting report.
It not only covers the last quarter of 2011, but also all previous years as useful chart data.

Shipments of Incandescent Lamps Illuminate at the Close of 2011

NEMA’s indexes for incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) lamp shipments increased by 29.4 and 3.6 percent, respectively, during Q4 2011 compared to Q3 2011. Incandescent lamp shipments posted a year-over-year gain of 41 percent while CFLs declined by 6.6 percent. The calendar year comparison also showed divergent paths. Shipments of CFLs decreased by 6.6 percent compared to 2010. Conversely, incandescent lamp shipments rose 16.4 percent during 2011. A preponderance–62.1 percent–of the increase over last year occurred during Q4.

Incandescent lamps increased its share of the combined incandescent-CFL market registering a reading of 82.8 percent. Meanwhile, the share of CFLs decreased to 17.2 percent –a ratio of slightly less than one in six lamps sold. The increase in the foothold by incandescent lamps is likely to continue while the new efficiency regulations established by EISA 2007 are phased-in over the next few years. CFLs and other substitute lamp types such as halogen A-Line and LED lamps are then expected to carve out increasing shares of the traditional A-Line market.


Since NEMA is for the ban, this is hardly biased in favor of incandescents
(besides, either big or small incandescent sales speak against a ban,
big sales = why ban what people prefer,
small sales = why ban when people are voluntarily switching anyway, little savings from a ban).

The relative incandescent sales rise during 2011 is indeed probably related to the growing awareness of the light bulb ban, as NEMA say.

However, what is of greater interest is the stagnation and even relative fall of CFL sales since the 2007 boost, a boost from the extensive subsidy and rebate introduced at the time of the 2007 EISA regulations (the extensive USA CFL promotion campaigns are documented on http://ceolas.net/#li12ax onwards).

In other words, despite the continuation and increase of all the CFL promotion campaigns, subsidies, rebates, handouts etc they are still no more popular.
The sales and market shares of both incandescents and CFLs have held remarkably steady, a slight fall in each perhaps being due to LED sales.

A reasonable reply is that CFLs might be liked, at least if subsidised and handed out, but are simply not suitable for all locations:
Hot or cold ambience, vibration, dampness, enclosed spaces, recesses, existing dimming circuits, timers, movement sensor switching, use in chandeliers and small and unusual lamps, aesthetical use if clear bulbs are preferred, rare usage when cheaper bulbs are preferred - and so on - apart from light quality differences,
particularly noticeable when dimming.

Yes, expensive halogen incandescent alternatives may be offered - but they still have differences to simple cheap incandescents (running hotter and whiter for example), and will as seen from the regulations (http://ceolas.net/#li01inx) also come to be banned for ordinary usage
in the second phase of the 2007 EISA regulations following on after 2014, a phase out which as seen also applies to the European Union.
While the above data does not differentiate simple incandescents from halogen type alternatives, previous data has shown the ongoing popularity of the simpler cheaper incandescents, and NEMA imply the same in their commentary here (the sales rise from 2012 regulations on simple incandescents, the expected increased future sales of halogen type replacements).

Another reply is that LEDs offer an alternative choice - certainly, but again,
with light quality differences in their spiky emission spectra, and with even more light output problems than CFLs to achieve bright (over 60W) light equivalent omnidirectional lighting, and at reasonable cost.

The simple truth is that all lighting has advantages for different uses:
and markets, whether you like them or not, always send a message.
In this case the message is clear - people still like to buy simple incandescent light bulbs.
"Great savings" from banning them is therefore to ban what people would have bought if they could, and as referenced on the Deception page, the overall all-things-considered savings whether of energy or emissions or money, are marginal and irrelevant.
Banning chauffeur driven political limousines might bring "great savings", but that again does not mean that those affected would necessarily be happy with such savings!

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