Innovation to Action

Shifting the Market for Low-Watt Lamps

When it comes time to replace commercial T8 lamps, building operators and owners have several choices: stick with the ubiquitous 32 Watt lamps they’ve always used, invest in a costly upgrade to LEDs, or switch to low-watt (i.e. 25W and 28W) lamps. For customers who see the value in efficiency but aren’t prepared to make the jump to LEDs, low-watt T8 lamps offer a simple and cost-effective solution.

Through its Reduced Wattage Lamp Replacement program, the alliance is helping to shift the lighting maintenance market toward low-watt lamps. The program offers electrical distributors training and marketing support to promote low-watt lamps to their customers. And, it provides sales incentives and bonus payments for meeting aggressive targets. After only two years, this regional focus on low-watt lamps has had a big impact on their price.

“Before the program, none of the region’s distributors had discussed special pricing for low watt T8 lamps with their manufacturers. The alliance’s actions encouraged distributors to start having these conversations. As a result, most are now offering 28W lamps to their customers for the same price, or less than, 32W lamps.”

Elaine Miller, NEEA Senior Program Manager   

Transforming the Market for Efficient T8 Lamps

The program now has 12 participating distributors, representing about 40 percent of the region’s total T8 sales. Thanks to their efforts, market share of 28W T8 lamps rose from 8 to 14 percent in 2015. In Montana and Idaho, these gains have been even greater. At the Graybar branch in Billings, Montana, 87 percent of T8s sold in 2015 were 28W and the location no longer stocks 32W T8 lamps.

“Once the more-efficient lamps dropped in cost to where they became comparable to the 32W lamps, they made sense for our customers. The more efficient lamps are a win-win-win: customers save money over the life of the bulb, we sell more product and the utility saves energy. It’s the easiest sell I’ve seen in years.”

Jeff Fisher, Graybar Branch Manager, Billings, MT

­­Through the Reduced Wattage Lamp Replacement Program, the alliance has learned an enormous amount about the commercial lighting market and built strong ties to the region’s electrical distributors. These relationships have led to increased data-sharing that allows the region to track monthly, branch-level sales and keep close tabs on this rapidly changing market. In the coming years, the alliance will apply these learnings to transform markets for other efficient lighting products. Together, we are creating a bright future.

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Efficient T8 lamps are a win for customers, distributors and the Northwest #energyefficiency @nwalliance @Graybar

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Low watt lamps offer something for everyone, but are particularly important in rural areas of the Northwest where customers face higher prices, and fewer incentives for LEDs.

View a map of participating branch locations »