DELight

light bulbs

By 2020, 43% of residential lighting electricity consumption in the EU could be saved through identifiable policy actions. This report demonstrates how such savings could be achieved. The DELight project incorporates data on domestic lighting from all over Europe, focusing on the EU, with in-depth analysis of three countries: Germany, Sweden and the UK.

In order to achieve the potential savings identified, the initial objective is to get a CFL into every home, so that households can experience this type of light and establish where and how they would like to use it. The ultimate aim of any market transformation strategy for lighting must be for the majority of fixtures in the home to be dedicated to more energy efficient light sources. The constraint in the short term will be manufacturing capacity and consumer confidence. In the longer-term, it is essential to transform the fixture market.

DELight Report - Executive Summary

By 2020, 43% of residential lighting electricity consumption in the EU could be saved through identifiable policy actions. This report demonstrates how such savings could be achieved.

Electric lighting is used in practically all households throughout Europe and represents a key component of peak electricity demand in many countries. There is already a well developed energy-efficient technology available on the market, in the form of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), that could deliver substantial savings. Such savings could be accessed quickly due to the rapid turnover of light bulbs in the stock - the challenge is to get the more efficient technology installed and guarantee the savings. No other changes in consumer behaviour are necessary. The agreement (still to be ratified) reached during the Climate Change Convention at Kyoto in December 1997 was for targets to reduce CO2 emissions to be "legally binding". This requires greater confidence and certainty that any potential savings will be achieved. Lighting represents an area of potentially large, rapid and guaranteed energy savings that could usefully contribute to these challenging international objectives.

The DELight project incorporates data on domestic lighting from all over Europe, focusing on the EU, with in-depth analysis of three countries: Germany, Sweden and the UK. These three countries account for 40% of households and almost half of all domestic electricity consumed in the EU. Spain was also included in one part of the detailed studies to represent countries in Southern Europe. This is the first time such detailed information on residential lighting in Europe has been brought together. Previously data were sparse and coverage is still inadequate, but evidence in this study demonstrates that domestic lighting is of greater importance than present policies have recognised, both in magnitude and energy savings potential.

The particular focus of this study has been to combine information on both the bulb and the light fixture. Research on the potential energy savings from changing the bulb alone results in optimistic and inaccurate estimates: the aesthetics of lighting are crucially important and the existing fixtures in homes are a major constraint that has to be recognised.

The Lighting Picture

Total domestic lighting consumption in the 15 EU Member States is at least 86 TWh (17% of all residential electricity use) and expected to rise to 102 TWh by 2020, largely because of the growth in household numbers.

At the national level, average household lighting consumption ranges from 240 kWh pa to 920 kWh pa across Europe. However, the majority of these figures are simple estimates and without more reliable figures, the true importance of this sector can not be confirmed.

Detailed modelling of lighting consumption for Germany and the UK reveals electricity use to be far higher than previously thought - at least double prior estimates in both countries.

Lighting electricity use is dependent on a number of factors, such as size of house (m2), number of inhabitants and income. The relative importance of each has not been established.

The average number of light bulbs is 24 per house across the EU. The majority (at least 70%) are incandescents, with the remainder being fluorescents (strip or CFLs) and halogens. In Germany and Sweden, there are more halogens than CFLs in the stock.

The light source manufacturing industry is dominated by three multi-national companies, common to both the residential and commercial sectors, whereas light fixtures are manufactured by over 1000 companies in the EU, often specific to the residential sector. Far Eastern imports are increasing in both markets.

Successful collaboration between these two disparate industries has been demonstrated by the rapid development of the market for halogen bulbs, which require specific fixtures.

The lighting retail market is split, with most consumers habitually purchasing bulbs in supermarkets, where fixtures are not available. Most fixtures are bought in specialist lighting shops or DIY stores.

One new fixture is bought by the average household annually, as either a replacement or an additional item.

Fixtures can be viewed as personal possessions and taken when moving house or may be treated as part of the building fabric, varying from country to country.

Expenditure on lighting in the EU is 10.3 bn ecu on electricity, with a further 5 bn on fixtures in 1995. The value of the bulbs is not included.

There is growing interest in the use of lighting in the home, illustrated by the popularity of torchiere uplighters (using high wattage halogens) and an expected trend towards increasing numbers of fixtures. Without intervention, this is likely to increase lighting electricity use, but also represents an opportunity for the installation of more energy-efficient lighting.

Opportunities for Savings

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use at least 60% less electricity than the traditional incandescents while lasting ten to twelve times as long and can therefore deliver substantial savings in terms of both electricity and money. Their long life means they need replacing less often and so are particularly suitable for use in inaccessible fixtures or for elderly or disabled people. Integral ballast CFLs, with a screw or bayonet base, currently represent the best opportunity to achieve significant electricity savings in residential lighting since they are the most energy-efficient technology suitable for use in fixtures already in the home. Pin-based CFLs are also available. These have a separate ballast either in a screw or bayonet based adapter (modular system) or incorporated into the fixture (dedicated system).

Ownership of CFLs is still relatively low, with consumer ignorance and confusion preventing wider use. Many of the problems associated with the use of these bulbs in the existing fixtures could be avoided through the use of fixtures designed for pin-based CFLs. Dedicated fixtures optimise the light distribution and performance of CFLs and improve the cost-effectiveness of installation (pin-based CFLs are cheaper than the integral ballast versions), as well as guaranteeing the savings and future bulb market. While dedicated fixtures are common in the commercial sector, there is a lack of suitably designed fixtures for the residential sector, representing an energy-saving opportunity that has not yet been fully exploited.

Only 30% of households in the EU currently have at least one CFL, with those households that own them having an average of three or four.

Three to four CFLs per owning household appears to be a stage in the development of residential lighting - a higher level of ownership is possible. People who are happy with their existing CFLs are unlikely to switch back to incandescent bulbs in these fixtures.

Across Europe, the main advantages of CFLs are seen as environmental or lower running costs.

The Spanish purchase CFLs predominantly for their bright light, which is particularly valued in Southern Europe.

Ownership of CFLs is highest in those countries with the lowest price of CFLs relative to GLS (general lighting service) bulbs. These tend to be the countries where there have been a number of high profile CFL campaigns, such as Denmark and the Netherlands.

Experience of CFLs, through using them in the home, doubles the proportion of people who view them positively.

Two-thirds of CFL owners consider that CFLs provide a suitable light for all activities. A similar proportion believe that CFLs do not fit in all their fixtures. The constraint for these households is seen as the fixture, not the bulb.

When a wide range of CFLs were demonstrated in the home by a lighting expert, the householder agreed that at least 40% of their fixtures, without alteration, were suitable for CFLs. This is an average of eight bulbs. There was almost complete agreement between the professional and the householder on what was deemed "acceptable".

Wall and ceiling fixtures were more suitable for use with CFLs than table or floor-standing luminaires.

Replacing the four most highly-used bulbs, in fixtures identified as suitable, would save around 200 kWh, worth 24 ecu pa per household in electricity savings. This represents over a quarter of the electricity consumed by domestic lighting in Germany, Sweden and the UK.

Barriers to be Overcome

The main reasons for not owning CFLs were that they were too expensive or the householder had never considered purchasing one. Ignorance and uncertainty were more important reasons for non-ownership than dislike of the bulb or the quality of light. Even current owners of CFLs need assistance in recognising the opportunities for installing CFLs in their fixtures.

Consumers lack confidence in the durability and continuity of CFL technology. The range of CFLs on the market is confusing and they do not know how to choose the appropriate one for their fixtures. There are limited opportunities for trying out CFLs at present.

The present retail structure for bulbs and fixtures and the lack of informed retail staff is preventing the education of the public on how to use CFLs correctly in the fixtures in the home.

There is little collaboration between the bulb and fixture manufacturers in developing a range of well-designed fixtures suitable for CFL use in the residential sector, so the annual purchase of a new fixture is likely to add to the stock of inappropriate fixtures.

The Way Forward

It has taken a considerable number of promotions and rebate schemes to get the first 135 million CFLs into European homes, partly because of their high price. Increasing ownership further will need a continuing level of policy support. However, if the full savings available in this sector are to be realised, a coherent strategy is required to transform the lighting market. Market transformation is a well established strategic approach, utilising a combination of policies, such as education, labels, rebates, procurement and standards, to speed up the introduction of energy efficient technologies into the home. This approach is currently less well developed with domestic lighting than with appliances.

The market for dedicated fixtures needs to be developed now, through collaboration between the manufacturers, to ensure the availability of a sufficient range of suitable fixtures within the next five years. In parallel with this, promotion of integral ballast CFLs needs to be continued in the short term because of the current lack of dedicated fixtures. The underlying aim of any approach must be to build a positive image of CFLs to lay the foundation for the successful transfer to dedicated fixtures.

The initial objective is to get a CFL into every home, so that households can experience this type of light and establish where and how they would like to use it.

The ultimate aim of any market transformation strategy for lighting must be for the majority of fixtures in the home to be dedicated to more energy efficient light sources.

The constraint in the short term will be manufacturing capacity and consumer confidence. In the longer-term, it is essential to transform the fixture market.

Recommendations for Building a Positive Image

Attractive, well-designed dedicated fixtures could be developed through procurement or competitions to widen consumer choice.

Free or heavily subsidised CFLs is the most effective way of getting the first of these bulbs into the 70% of homes currently without one, this should be accompanied by an explanatory leaflet.

The quality of CFL products on the market needs to be guaranteed, with continuity and compatibility of technologies. The Energy Label provides a good basis for this, possibly in combination with a "quality list" of CFLs as used in Denmark and Sweden.

People should have the opportunity to try out CFLs, either through test samples or with a guaranteed refund.

Appropriate mechanisms need to be put in place for the safe disposal of fluorescent bulbs to prevent pollution from mercury and phosphors.

Transforming the fixture retail sector would enable consumers to obtain clear information and advice on the appropriate use of CFLs. An accreditation scheme would identify shops with trained staff.

A "suitability label" on fixtures would enable consumers to identify the appropriate CFL to use.

Retail outlets could use CFLs in the existing fixture displays, demonstrating their correct application and raising awareness among both retailers and consumers.

An EU Corporate Average Bulb Efficiency standard (CABE) is one possibility: a negotiated agreement requiring a certain efficiency of the average bulb sold, with improvements each year. This would combine flexibility with guaranteed savings and support the long-term strategy.

The switch from incandescents to CFLs is as revolutionary as the switch from gas to electricity in domestic lighting 70 years ago and needs to be recognised as such. The role of suitable fixtures is of similar importance.

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