Laying the Foundation

May/June 2003
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2003 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2003
A combination of unexpected events and prior planning sent the CFL market soaring in 2001.
        It has been 23 years since the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) was first introduced. Over its first two decades of sales, the CFL made only modest incursions into the residential marketplace thoroughly dominated by a century-old lamp design—the incandescent bulb. Then, in 2001, the market share gains for CFLs outpaced all of the gains achieved in the first 260 months of the products’ existence. National sales of CFLs grew from 0.5% share in mid-2000 to 1.6% share in mid-2001, reaching 2.1% by the fourth quarter of 2001. In this same year, California sales absolutely soared, reaching a peak of 8.5% in the second quarter and stabilizing at between 5% and 6% in the third and fourth quarters of 2001 (see Figure 1).What happened?         The events of 2001 built on the foundations laid by energy efficiency programs in previous years.And on top of this groundwork, a number of extraordinary factors came into play in 2001, particularly in California.Any one or two of them alone might have led to a banner year of sales, but together they created something of a “perfect storm”—a confluence of factors at the right time and place to drive ...

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