Osram Sylvania has released the results of its first annual Socket Survey, documenting consumer interest in energy-efficient lighting—including the discovery that a majority of consumers are unaware of the ban on most incandescent bulbs, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The law addresses four areas of lighting: incandescent bulbs, incandescent reflector lamps, metal halide fixtures, and the federal government's own use of lighting. The requirements include a 30 percent increase in efficiency in A-line bulbs, which will force a current 100W incandescent bulb to be rated at 70W but still produce the same number of lumens. Most specialty and decorative bulbs will not be affected by this requirement. Incandescent reflector lamps will have to match halogen lamps' efficiency standards, with a few exceptions. Metal halide lamps, effective as of Jan. 1 this year, are required to use a pulse-start metal-halide ballast if the lamp is rated at or more than 150W and fewer than 501W; that ballast must have a minimum efficiency of 88 percent. (Several lighting manufacturers' websites have overviews of the new requirements and exceptions.) A section of the law also requires federal buildings that have been constructed, altered, or acquired after December 2008 to use the most energy-efficient lighting fixtures feasible.

Three hundred homeowners and renters were surveyed by telephone using random-digit dialing. The questions evaluated interest in energy-efficient lighting and overall awareness of how the lighting industry is changing. The survey also covered topics such as LED technology and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and how well-informed consumers are on the transition. In a statement, Sylvania's CEO and president Charlie Jerabek said, “The survey results are a call-to-action for a comprehensive awareness campaign to help consumers make the transition from traditional light bulbs to newer technologies, such as LEDs and CFLs.”

Consumer Findings:

  • 78 percent were not aware of the mandate to phase out incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.
  • 88 percent rank energy efficiency as a key factor when buying light bulbs.
  • 85 percent know CFLs use less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • 77 percent know that CFLs last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
  • 70 percent believe that CFLs are cheaper than traditional bulbs, when considering the life span of each.
  • 68 percent have adopted CFLs; 76 percent will or are willing to switch in the future.
  • Only 21 percent have LEDs in their homes.