SSL technology, when fully deployed, offers all of these benefits. The federal government and many state governments provide R&D support, manufacturing support, and information resources to market participants, including consumers, to advance the public good. Industry, health and safety, and environmental regulations also play a role in directing industry behavior as it conforms to meeting stated public policy goals.
Chapter 2 reviewed targets and timetables set by various bodies around the globe for the implementation of more efficient lighting products for illumination. In many cases such targets and timetables are mandated by law, such as in EISA 2007. Some states were permitted to accelerate these timetables, and California issued a fact sheet discussing its early adoption.21 This section reviews the efforts made in communicating the implications of these standards to the consumer public.
The phase-out of incandescent lamps in the European Union began on September 1, 2009.22 At that time, the European Commission had not issued any guidance documents to consumers about the choices they would have after the transition date. There are no official estimates of the percentage of the European population in September 2009 that was aware of the changes in available products, but the European Lamp Companies Federation (ELC) estimates that more than half of the adult population was aware that changes were coming. This is largely the result of the media and retailers themselves in various European countries informing the consumers of the change. It should be noted, however, that some of the information provided was found by ELC to be inaccurate. Negative reactions were experienced in many countries, and it was not until a year later that the European Commission finally published its consumer guidance on its website where readers in Europe are now able to find it in their own language. ELC estimates that the total amount of money that the European Commission has spent on consumer awareness programs such as this is approximately half a million Euros. The member countries have not funded local language programs, at least not on a systematic scale. Much like in the United States, halogen incandescent lamps and LEDs are also available to consumers and meet the legislative requirement. Nonetheless, the European Union recognized the need for government intervention to aid in the lighting transition. The United States is the only country in the world where such significant changes in consumer choices of lamps has taken place without the government first making efforts to build awareness with the consumer.
An effective program for communicating to consumers about the incandescent lamp phase-out was launched by the Australian government. After Cuba instituted an import ban of filament lamps in 2005, Australia was the first country to announce, in February 2007, that incandescent lamps were going to be phased out in that country starting with an import ban in February 2009 and ultimately leading to a sales ban in November 2009. While the total amount of money that the Australian government has spent on consumer education is not publicly available, the federal and state governments in Australia collaborated with industry, retailers, and other stakeholders to produce in-store banners and other point-of-purchase materials intended to give guidance to the public about lamp choices. One such example is shown in Figure 6.7.
The Australian government also produced training manuals for electrical contractors to explain the new regulations and to teach the basics of lighting energy efficiency. The acceptance of these regulations has been high, and the over-whelming majority of media reports have been positive and in support of the regulations.23 In other examples around the world, New Zealand joined Australia in June 2008 by announcing its intention to phase out incandescent lamps. The government of New Zealand worked with Australia to develop a common minimum efficacy standard for these lamps.24 However, public opinion and a change in government in New Zealand led that country in March 2011 to repeal the ban. There is some speculation that the minimum standard may be re-introduced in New Zealand now that the election period is well over. The Canadian government announced in October 2011 that the phase-out in that country will be delayed by 2 years and will now begin in January 2014. Brazil is currently considering regulations similar to those in the United States and is watching developments in other countries closely. China recently announced that it will phase out 100 W incandescent lamps starting October 1, 2012 (Taylor, 2011).
On the other hand, the market share of incandescent lamps in Japan’s residential market has for a long time been much lower than in other countries, even without government regulation or intervention. The traditionally high electricity rates have contributed somewhat to Japanese consumers voluntarily using fluorescent lighting in their homes, and after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as a result of extensive news coverage and government outreach to the public, the adoption of even higher efficiency LED lamps has accelerated.
These examples suggest that national governments can greatly help increase public acceptance of higher-efficiency products with positive and proactive messaging. And conversely, by remaining passive, government can turn the public against such efforts. The committee found that in
22 European Commission Regulation 244/2009.
23 Email communication with Bryan Douglas, Chief Executive Officer, Lighting Council Australia.
24 AS/NZS 4934.2(Int):2008, which was later replaced by AS/NZS 4934.2:2011.