In 1997, market share for CFLs did not even reach one percent. Although a small number of manufacturers offered CFLs, quality was inconsistent, average prices were high ($14 to $24 per bulb), product features such as bulb size and shape did not meet the average consumer’s expectations, and awareness of the energy- and money-saving benefits was low. A decade-long, comprehensive CFL campaign, influenced by the region’s utilities, manufacturers, laboratories, government agencies, retailers and ENERGY STAR®, made market transformation a reality.
From 1997 through 2008, the alliance partnered with manufacturers and retailers across the Northwest to increase consumer awareness, test quality and increase the availability of ENERGY STAR CFLs.
The alliance worked with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and regional utilities to develop a CFL campaign that included customer coupons for CFLs, in-store merchandising and promotions, and staff training aimed at consumer education. By leveraging resources and incentives offered by utility partners, the alliance convinced CFL manufacturers to increase production. These efforts led to the development of subcompact and dimmable CFLs bulbs. A third-party program performed random testing on CFLs in retail stores to ensure quality. And, the alliance established a retail distribution channel for moving high-quality products into the market.
In just one year, the campaign doubled the number of Northwest retailers carrying CFLs, and Northwest sales of CFL bulbs jumped from 350,000 to 6.5 million bulbs — an increase of 1,700 percent. In total, from 1997-2011, the alliance achieved 220 aMW in energy savings beyond what would have occurred naturally in the market without intervention. This is enough energy to power more than 150,000 U.S. households each year.