Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: 15 Years Later

5 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2009

See all articles by Paul Farris

Paul Farris

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Robert E. Spekman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Marjorie Webb

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) lasted five to six times longer—8,000 to 12,000 hours—than comparable incandescent bulbs and consumed 75% less energy. By July 2008, prices had fallen as low as $2 or so per bulb, compared with $0.25 for standard bulbs. But manufacturers had yet to crack the code on how to get consumers to choose these innovative energy-efficient light bulbs over standard bulbs.

Excerpt

UVA-M-0766

Rev. Aug. 26, 2010

COMPACT FLUORESCENT BULBS: 15 YEARS LATER

Who would have anticipated that the lyrics “It's not easy being green” would apply to the light bulb business? Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) lasted five to six times longer—8,000 to 12,000 hours­—than comparable incandescent bulbs and consumed 75% less energy. Yet even though prices had fallen as low as $ 2 or so per bulb, as of July 2008, manufacturers had yet to crack the code on how to get consumers to choose these innovative energy-efficient light bulbs over standard bulbs.

In the past, consumers had complained that first-generation CFLs warmed up slowly, emitted a relatively harsh light, and would not fit some fixtures. Despite product improvements since their introduction in the late 1980s, CFL bulb sales were still far below potential.

CFLs could help solve a number of the urgent problems: energy consumption, rising gas and electricity costs, greenhouse-gas emissions, U.S. dependence on coal and foreign oil, and perhaps even global warming. Advocates calculated that if each of the 110 million households in the United States bought just one CFL bulb and used it to replace a regular 60-watt bulb, the energy saved each year would be able to power a city of 1.5 million people. The amount of energy saved by replacing one regular bulb with one CFL bulb in each U.S. household would be equivalent of permanently taking 1.3 million cars off the road in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel saved.

. . .

Keywords: sustainability aesthetics market strategy target, analysis

Suggested Citation

Farris, Paul and Spekman, Robert E. and Webb, Marjorie, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: 15 Years Later. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0766, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1420595

Paul Farris (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-0524 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/farris.htm

Robert E. Spekman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4860 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/spekman.htm

Marjorie Webb

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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