FIGURE 6.7 Australian lighting information brochure. SOURCE: Reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Australia.
California, media coverage has been fair and balanced and informative as to what the new standards really mean for consumers. As described in greater detail in Chapter 2, the rollout of CFLs encountered many problems. Foremost among them was the lack of a robust public education campaign to prepare consumers for this new technology. Related to this problem was the failure to consider and give sufficient weight to consumer expectations and reactions to this new lighting technology in terms of lighting quality, reliability, costs, and durability. Finally, there was an absence of any serious effort to proactively anticipate and attempt to address foreseeable problems with the technology that may be important to consumers, such as the objectionable color temperature, the potential for mercury pollution, and the inability to dim many CFLs. The lessons of CFLs have played out in other types of technology introductions, such as the transition to digital TV (see Box 6.3).
FINDING: As discussed in this chapter and in previous chapters, demonstration, outreach, and public and industry education programs are important for widespread adoption of SSL products and can help to avoid the problems encountered during the introduction of CFLs.
RECOMMENDATION 6-7: The Department of Energy should take a leadership role, in partnership with the states and industry, to examine and clearly identify opportunities for demonstration, outreach, and education so that its activities in support of SSL deployment are most valuable.
Lessons to Avoid: The Digital TV Example
The transition to digital television (DTV) provides a relevant analogy and some potentially useful lessons for the transition to solid-state lighting (SSL). As is the case with SSL, DTV offers important benefits and advantages over existing technologies, but because of public unfamiliarity with the new technology, consumer dermnd was “latent” Another similarrty is that the successlul deployment of DTV required action by several different industries that are not linked or coordinated, as is the case with SSL.
While DTV depended on the combined actions of equipment manufacturers, broadcast channels, and content providers, SSL requires synchronized action by lamp and fixture rmnuiacturffs, retailers, utilities, builders, and designers. Finally, both DTV and SSL raise challenging issues as to the appropriate role of government, industry, and other players in promoting a nascent technology that may not achieve an optimal pace and scale of market penetration relying on market forces alone. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress mandated that all broadcast TV channels switch to digital broadcasts by a specified date, which after several delays and extensions, ended up being June 12, 2CW.
The DTV transition resulted in substantial public and industry confusion, frustration, and resistance, as well as repeated delays, even though rt uHimately succooj ed. Pahaps the greatest problem was the failure of government to anticipate and address the public response to the technology change that many perceived as being forced upon them.
The federal government also failed to accurately anticipate how companies in the various industry sectors would respond to the DTV mandate. There were performance problems with DTV, suro as the “dig ital dfff” that resulted in the complete loss of a signal when there was any interference, which was not communicated well to customers (Hart, 2008) There was also a failure to consider the environrrental implications of suddenly making millions of analog TV sets obsolete, many of which ended up in landfills (Palm, 2009). The Government Accountability Office criticized the federal government for failing to have a comprehensive plan for the DTV transition (GAO, 2007)