In Osram Sylvania's first annual Socket Survey, the manufacturer has documented consumer interest in energy-efficient lighting-including the discovery that a majority of consumers are unaware of the ban on incandescent bulbs, as mandated by the 2007 Clean Energy Act. Lighting is addressed in far parts of the law. The law covers incandescent bulbs, incandescent reflector lamps, metal halide fixtures, and the federal government's 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 over 150 watts and less than 501 watts; that ballast must have a minimum efficiency of 88 percent. (See GE's overview of the 2007 Clean Energy Act for more information on the effects of the law and the exceptions provided in it.) A section of the law also required federal buildings that have been constructed, altered, or acquired after December 2008 to use the most energy efficient lighting fixtures feasible.

The survey questioned consumers on their home use of light bulbs, interviewing 300 home owners and renters nationwide in November 2008. The questions evaluated interest in energy efficient lighting and overall awareness of how the lighting industry is changing. Questions also covered topics such as LED technology and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and how well informed they 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:

  • 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 are willing or will continue to switch in the future.
  • Only 21 percent have LEDs in their homes.