September 18, 2008

CFL Bulb Sales Hit 18 Million in Northwest, 300 Percent Rise Since 2004

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- By all measures, energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) sales nationwide are booming. Nowhere is the future brighter than in the Northwest where sales of ENERGY STAR- qualified CFLs have increased by more than 300 percent since 2004 and topped 18 million in 2007, according to the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's (NEEA's) market evaluation report released today. (


"Energy efficiency, through both innovation and behavior change, continues to be the region's first priority. It is the cleanest, cheapest solution to reducing demand while our population and energy needs continue to rise," said Claire Fulenwider, executive director of NEEA. "By the utilities, governments, manufacturers, retailers and consumers coming together, the transformation of the lighting industry here in the Northwest has now spread across the U.S., and is a shining example of what we can all do when we work together."

The report calls out that market share for ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs, which use approximately 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, has grown in the Northwest from one percent in the early 1990s to approximately 34 percent at the end of last year -- 14 percent higher than overall U.S. market share. Residents of Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho now have about 10 CFLs installed in each household-double the national average.

"When the Northwest Power Planning Council's Fourth Power Plan in 1998 called for 20-year savings from CFLs equivalent to three bulbs per household, it was greeted with considerable skepticism," said Dick Watson, former director of the Power Planning Division at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. "Thanks in large part to the groundwork laid by NEEA and the region's utilities, that goal was met and exceeded by a significant margin."

The report attributes the Northwest's contribution to energy-efficient lighting to a strong collaboration and commitment among the region's electric utilities, including the Bonneville Power Administration and the Energy Trust of Oregon. Over the last decade, Northwest utilities have worked aggressively, in their own service area as well as regionally under the banner of NEEA, to address the supply and demand issues that once hampered CFL consumer acceptance.

The Story:

Ten years ago, public awareness and availability of CFLs was low, prices were high ($15 to $20 a bulb) and customers were dissatisfied with their performance. To address customer concerns, NEEA's Northwest ENERGY STAR residential lighting program partnered with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to reduce the size and decrease the cost of CFLs, ultimately resulting in the development of the now familiar "twister" CFL models. NEEA also leveraged local utility efforts, as well as regional and national initiatives, to encourage the improvement of CFL product quality. In 2000, NEEA, along with leadership from California and New England, was a founding sponsor of a national third-party testing program called PEARL (Program for the Evaluation & Analysis of Residential Lighting), which tested bulbs to ensure they met ENERGY STAR criteria. The U.S. Department of Energy eventually required that all manufacturers conduct and fund these tests on their own.

"NEEA's market interventions were instrumental in creating the right supplier conditions and product quality standards to expand consumer acceptance dramatically," said Tami Rasmussen, a senior consultant with KEMA, the consulting, testing and certification firm that authored NEEA's 2007 market evaluation report. "By 2006, increased positive media attention, Wal-Mart's sustainability initiatives, and lighting efficacy legislation helped propel CFLs into mainstream status."

To further drive sales, NEEA provided financial incentives to manufacturers to increase product availability and reduce price. They educated retailers and offered marketing support to encourage CFL promotion. In 2005, NEEA coordinated a regional manufacturer "buydown" to reduce the market price of CFLs and establish adequate distribution channels, including grocery, drug, supermarket, hardware, do-it-yourself chains and wholesale clubs. They coordinated similar promotions in 2006 and 2007.

As a result of these collaborative efforts, the number of Northwest retail stores stocking CFLs swelled from 30 stores ten years ago to more than 2,000 by 2007. Today all major lighting manufacturers produce ENERGY STAR CFLs, and prices average under $5 per bulb.

   For more information about NEEA, visit    About NEEA  

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a nonprofit supported by energy efficiency leaders including Bonneville Power Administration, Energy Trust of Oregon and more than 130 utilities from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Through regional leverage, NEEA delivers large-scale energy efficiency efforts while supporting both urban and rural needs across commercial, industrial and residential sectors. NEEA helps bring new energy- efficient technologies and better codes and standards to market while supporting other energy efficiency efforts. According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the Northwest has saved nearly 3300 average megawatts (aMW) through energy efficiency over the past 30 years, which is like powering the city of Seattle three times over.

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Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

CONTACT: Aaron Cohen of Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA),+1-503-827-8416, ext. 228, [email protected]

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