10 Years of Lighting in the U.S. – What’s Changed, and Why Fluorescent Lighting is Making a Difference

Ten years ago, the Department of Energy released a report on the state of the U.S. lighting market. This week, they published the follow-up report. The numbers reveal how far the lighting industry has come in ten years, and they indicate a few interesting trends:

We’re becoming more efficient. This one’s no surprise. Technological advancements improve energy-efficient lighting in terms of performance and efficacy month by month, so ten years certainly showed strides toward sustainability. Most notably, fluorescent light fixtures made a big impact. In the residential sector, the shift was from incandescent to compact fluorescent lamps; in the commercial sector, it was from T12 to T8 and T5 fluorescent lamps. As you can see in the chart below, linear fluorescent light fixtures now make up the largest portion of the commercial sector as well as the largest portion of the total.

Overall, the efficacy of lighting improved by 29 percent – an increase from 45 lumens per watt in 2001 to 58 lumens per watt in 2010.

LEDs make up a small piece of the pie. Take a look at the chart below. LEDs (in yellow) account for very little of annual electricity consumption. Likely, that is partly because LEDs consume minimal energy to operate and partly because LED lighting has yet to be adopted on a large scale, especially in the residential sector. The greatest penetration of market in LED lighting can be seen in the outdoor sector.

Demand is going up. It’s good news that efficiency is improving; because in ten years, the number of lamps installed in the U.S. grew by about a billion. This was likely due to an increase in the number of households, as well as an increase in the number of sockets per household.

Take a look at the complete report if you want to see more details. What do you think – is this what you would’ve expected for ten years?

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.