More than two thirds of Kiwis could not tell the difference between the light from an energy efficient light bulb and that of an inefficient light bulb, according to an innovative experiment.
Over 850 shoppers took part in the Electricity Commission’s RightLight Challenge in Auckland and Christchurch on July 17 and July 24.
For the experiment, two identical booths were specially built - one lit with a traditional light bulb and the other lit with an energy efficient light bulb.
Sixty eight per cent of shoppers were confident that they would spot the energy efficient light bulb before they did the test. The shoppers were not told whether they had guessed correctly.
68 per cent also either incorrectly identified which room was lit by the efficient bulb or stated they could not spot any difference.
In the experiment’s other findings, 18 per cent stated they had no preference for one light over the other. Of the remainder, 49 per cent said they preferred the light in the room lit by the energy efficient light bulb.
When presented with a sample of nine different energy efficient bulbs available, 88 per cent of people were also surprised at the wide range on offer.
The RightLight Challenge, part of the Electricity Commission’s RightLight.govt.nz campaign, demonstrated that energy efficient bulbs provide high quality light indistinguishable from traditional incandescent bulbs and there is now a full range of efficient bulbs available to suit every light in the home.
“New Zealanders now realise that they can reduce their electricity bills and help the environment without compromising on the look and feel of their homes,” said Electricity Commission Efficient Lighting Programme Manager Stuart Ross.
“Many people still believe energy efficient light bulb options are limited to the traditional spiral Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) that are sometimes criticised as being ugly and not providing good light.
“However in a covered fitting, the shape of the bulb is immaterial and the experiment clearly showed that the light output of a quality CFL is now indistinguishable from an inefficient bulb. Furthermore, energy efficient bulbs now come in a range of shapes, sizes and styles that look identical to the standard inefficient bulbs we’re used to.
“There are great-looking energy efficient options for almost every part of the home, whether that’s in the kitchen or living room, hallway or garage.”
Estimates show New Zealand households are paying at least $129 million a year more than they need to in electricity charges by using inefficient light bulbs. Despite the rapid uptake of energy-efficient light bulbs, nearly 90% of NZ homes still have older-style bulbs in over half the sockets.
On average, one in six Kiwi homes have no compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) fitted and are missing out completely on the opportunity to cut power bills, said Mr Ross.
“The cost savings from using energy efficient lighting are significant – for some technologies more than $100 over the lifetime of a single bulb.”