Check out this map for which cities are buying the most LEDs & CFLs

49 Comments

Home Depot is the largest retailer of light bulbs in the world, so it’s got a birds eye view on who’s buying next-generation light bulbs — both LEDs and compact fluorescents — in which cities throughout the U.S. The company took sales data for over 2013 and census data and created this heat map-style data visualization showing off the top 10 and top 50 cities that bought energy-efficient light bulbs per capita.

Home Depot light bulb mapThe top 10 cities aren’t all that surprising: some coasts, big cities, and environmental-leaning and progressive places. The top 10 markets for energy-efficient bulb consumption per capita are:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Boston, MA
  • Hartford, CT
  • Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/West Palm Beach, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco Bay
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington D.C.

But more surprising is what cities were left off the per capita list:

  • Chicago, IL
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York City, NY

In fact New York didn’t even make it in the Top 50.

But on a total energy-efficient light bulb consumption basis Chicago, and Los Angeles came out on top.

A few more surprising cities did surface on the Top 50 per capita list:

  • Fayetteville, AR
  • McAllen, TX
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Waco, TX

What’s driving these smaller cities? Rebates — 27 of the Top 50 markets offer a rebate for purchasing LEDs or CFLs. This year companies in the U.S. started phasing out the incandescent light bulb, and by next year inefficient bulbs will be harder to find.

49 Comments

JMichael Warren

Frankly speaking, and political rhetoric aside, there is at least a cull of justification in all the viewpoints I have thus far read. I believe that the body of knowledge on this subject would certainly encompass vastly more technical expertise than has heretofore been conveyed by the persons interested in this ongoing discussion. That this subject is being discussed by forthright individuals who are rightly concerned about the future and its direction is an important step in the evolution of the subject matter (which encompasses more than mere developments in the sources of artificial light). I am neither a scholar nor an expert at anything other than my own opinion. That stated, I subscribe to the notion that sciences have developed to an extent that almost every branch can be scrutinized with keen eyes that are bound to advance this body of knowledge to a higher state of awareness and understanding heretofore locked away in people’s minds and who, only thru worldwide exposure to the internet can now begin to share thoughts, promote discussion and most importantly, learn more of and about any subject matter that the mind of man can conceive. Please do not let personal biases interfere with sound reasoning and advancement of knowledge from whom all of humankind may benefit. I have, in my nearly seven decades of life, been exposed to elements of life on several continents and have seen the worst but mostly the best of what the ‘superior’ species on this planet is capable of. Do not stray from the heart of the subject matter with personal invectives flung aimlessly in the direction of one participant or another. Continue to express ideas, thoughts, and more importantly verifiable knowledge of the subject at hand. My adage would be, perhaps appropriately, “To thine own self, BE TRUE.” Advancement of fact is knowledge gained and satisfaction achieved. Thank you all, keep up the good work and your interest and participation benefits us all. JMichael Warren (TX)

chuck

I worry about the level of mercury that the US is accumulating with each of the failed, or accidentally broken CFL. Are we encouraging huge deposits in landfills?

W forbes

First, our use of 60 cycle electricity is for the benefit of long distance transmission; for DC does not transmit well over long distances. If CFL or LED’s were made in either 12 or 24 volt DC, many of the drawbacks would be eliminated if a home or business had a simple step-down transformer from the power companies AC feed. In fact, if solar companies stuck to only providing power to the home in the same fashion(12 or 24 volt DC) many of the expensive components would be eliminated too and more homes and businesses could hook up to solar/wind power. The bugaboo about mercury is somewhat valid; since many don’t recall or even know about older medicines that were based on miniscule amounts of mercury; for mercury is an excellent controller of infections and funguses. I’ll bet there are countless in the older generation that have at least played with tiny amounts of mercury as children and suffered little or no ill effects. Of course, air borne mercury in vapor form is quite a serious matter, liquid form is relatively benign in tiny amounts if exposure is very limited. The main factor of incandescent bulbs is their low cost to produce, even if they burn out quicker. Surely, future LED’s will be so good that even CFL’s will be outmoded and concerns about mercury will be eliminated.

Jackie

What?!? I thought it was mandatory for me to give up my trusty old lightbulbs that lasted forever, and replace with unsightly swiggley bulbs that cost more and don’t last as long. Seriously, I do have a choice?

Nothinghidingundermybasket No!

Kevin Haendiges

Since only 40 and 60 watt incandescent bulbs were banned I just replaced them with other incandescent bulbs in non banned wattages. CFLs are toxic when broken, LEDs just plain suck as well as being way too expensive. This is America, use whatever you want to light your home, but don’t tell me what to use.

Jose Baldemar Chavez

The reason the McAllen market is a “surprise” is because it’s in the hub of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA, an area consisting of about 10 cities with a combined population of about 775,000 (not counting the nearby rural areas and the Mexican city it borders). It’s also was the 11th fastest growing area in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. It’s an area that gets over looked. So you can imagine that there are a lot of buyers in that area.

Biff tanon

Why an argument about stinking light bulbs, go out and fight about something else.

Scott in MN

Make a CFL that turns on when the switch is flipped while its less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit and you may sell a few more in the MidWest. How does turning on a light then leaving the room for a few minutes waiting for the light to come on save energy?

Michael Ernest

I have been using all 3 types of bulbs and had to replace several CFL’s after only 1-2 years of use. Furthermore-when i turn a switch on – I do not want to wait for the light to brighten so I can read. True LEDs are efficient, but I just replaced purchased a stock of dimmable fan light bulbs and found that LEDs to replace them cost 7 times the cost per bulb. Now that is sticker shock. Hail to Thomas Edison!

John Wayne

Liberal NY not cracking the top 50? Goes to show all talk and no action, let the other man bring the LED price down before I need to buy in. Phony Liberals. I’m conservative and have transferred about 70% of my house so far and have 12 solar panels on the roof. Car gets 34mpg and I recycle: How’s that Al Gore, flying your jet today to make up my carbon footprint and a few other hundreds?

Simon

Energy efficiency is a misnomer for light bulbs used in the north where it is cold in the winter: extra heat is welcome, and incandescent light bulbs for heat production are an efficient use of electricity (easy bake oven, anyone?). In the summer, when air conditioning is being used, the fluorescent bulbs make sense. Northern city inhabitants should change their light bulb type according to the season, incandescent in winter, fluorescent in summer. But what about the mercury in the latter?

karl

hey now all the hipsters and people lulled to sleep by whatever media outlet they turn to day 2 day can pat themselves on the back and go to sleep 2nite thinking they’re actually helping save the planet, planet that has past the point of being saved.

jim

Not surprising that these are the cities that would fall for the PC Global Warming Crap that spews out of ole barry’s mouth, for anybody Stupid enough to listen the LIAR in chief! NOTHING progressive, in any way, about swallowing the LIES!

Ernie Kara

The GOP ran Romney;s campaign on lie’s lie’s lie’s but it didn’t work. They have no right to call Obama or anyone else a lie.

James Barends

The lack of interest in California is not surprising since one broken CFL bulb is legally a haz mat incident. If such things are not reported when the house is sold, there can be unpleasent consequences. And as far as the rest, well EPA has proposed a regulation to require ALL homes be tested for mercury contamination ($2500 per test) and no house can be sold until decontaminated by a licensed firm. One broken CFL would cost well over $20,000 as a minimum. I have a stockpile of traditional bulbs to last until the LED’s are practical.

What is interesting is when you overlay this map over a data map of increases in perscription eye glasses. They actually correspond to a fairly high degree. Why? Because CFL’s in particular and LED’s as well are not continous light sources but rather pulsing sources. Alternating electrical current is actually pulses of electricity and those two light sources pulse in time with them. They increase eye fatique significantly causing deterioration and the need for perscriptions. Traditional bulbs use a heated wire that continues to radiate light between electrical pulses. One of the reasons AC has a 60 cycle rate (50 in Europe) is because it is fast enough that the light does not pulse. Humans evolved with sun light and the traditional bulb fit the pattern. To force everyone into a pulsing light world will have consequences.

Steve

What’s your source for the data re: eye prescriptions and where can one see this overlay?

Lynda

Finally, a rational answer to all this. I HATE both LED and CFL’s period. They cause me such eyestrain and headaches when attempting to read with them that I get physically sick. James Barends actually knows what he is talking about. He is not just a “greenie” talking headpiece. Once again we have bought into all the hype, just like global warming, while we sit here with 3/4 of the nation far below freezing and ships caught in record ice in Antartica while there is record growth in the polar ice caps. Just a bunch of people trying to make money (and they DO!) off of creating fear. How much is Al Gore worth now?… Think about it, folks.

L.L. Harvey

There is actually NOTHING wrong with using the old light bulbs. Those freakin do gooders who proclaim CFL is better are just plain WRONG as CFL use mercury which is a thousand times more hazourdous than standard bulbs. Would rather use LED if it weren’t for the cost.
Damn Libtards and Demoncraps are destroying this great country with all theor liberal B.S.

Steve

More mercury is emitted into the environment by burning coal to generate the additional power needed for incandescent light bulbs.

Ken

Don’t let Obama and the DNC poison America with CFLs. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.
Obama’s CFLs will have everyone going to hospitals and using Obamacare for mercury poisoning and birth defects.

Use LED bulbs. No poisonous mercury or other toxins and they last for more than 10 years for a fraction of the power of used by CFLs. Don’t let Obama and the DNC waste America’s energy with CFLs and poison America’s
environment.

Lee Gary

Bush had little choice but to sign it into law since the Democrats held sway over both Houses and would have easily overridden his veto. Anything else?

Sidney Almeida

The mercury in the CFL’s is minute. Especially compared to the mercury being spread around from coal exploration, from coal power plants, from tar sands oil exploration and burning of the tar sands oil. It’s amazing how conservatives get all bend out of shape over small traces of mercury in CFL’s but are gung ho about the largest causes of mercury poisoning. Something that more widespread use of LED’s and CFL’s help greatly in reducing. Once again it goes to show how backwards your priorities are. Oh and it wasn’t Obama who signed the bill, it was George W. Bush back in 2007. Maybe if you overcame your irrational Obama hatred you’d be a bit less ignorant about the facts.

Quentin

It would be interesting to see the break down of CFL purchases vs. LED purchases.

Democrats are poisoning the environment with CFLs. CFLs should have been banned as toxic materials.

Smart consumers who really care about the environment use LED bulbs. Democrats that just pay lip service to taking care of the environment.

andy

Democrats??? Good grief, gimme a break. If you are a Republican, does this mean that you use old incandescent bulbs and tube-televisions?

Lee Gary

You should Google what European’s are saying about those non incandescent bulbs. Plus the democrats pushed this law through Congress with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 when they controlled both houses. In2011 the Republicans tried to repeal the part of the afore mentioned act which mandated the end of incandescent bulb with their Better Use of Light Bulbs Act. It failed to pass the house because there were still too many Democrats there to achieve the 2/3 majority required. Yes Democrats!!! Now we get to pay > 20 times more for a light bulb.

Sidney Almeida

It was a Republican president who signed the bill and it was Republicans in the Senate who allowed it to pass as the Democrats didn’t have the necessary votes to overcome a veto. You want to be an idiot and pay less for an incandescent bulb which burns out after a few months and wastes more energy be our guest. What you don’t pay up front you more than make up for in your electricity bill and later visits to the hardware store to buy your beloved incandescent bulbs after the previous ones burn out.

LBB in midwest

“… pay less for an incandescent bulb which burns out after a few months?” You must be talking about GE and Syvania bulbs. I moved into a newly built home over 12 years ago and ALL my new light bulbs were Teiber Long-Life incandescent (60 watt 130 volt) and I have still NEVER REPLACED over half the bulbs in my house… the first bulbs began to fail after burning reliably for over 6 years. Like everyone else, I have used some CFL’s to replace incandescent bulbs (locations that are not on dimmer switches) but I have been very disappointed with the high failure rate of CFL’s after less than 2 years. Reality doesn’t back up the claim that CFL’s outlast good incandescents. So if I can buy Long-Life incandescent bulbs for less than a dollar and have light for over a decade, you’re not really going to call me an idiot are you?

Matt Healy

Actually, the mercury from CFLs is very small. The biggest source of mercury emissions by far is from COAL burned in power plants. While the percentage of US electricity that comes from coal is declining, right now coal still accounts for over a third of US electricity — which means the electricity needed to operate an incandescent bulb leads to vastly more mercury emissions than any other type of lighting. By the time coal usage has declined to the point where mercury from CFLs is not lost in the noise, I expect the LED will have largely supplanted the CFL.

James Barends

Sorry Matt, but you do not understand hazardous material exposure if you think it does not matter. I have worked with mercury and mercury cleanups for years and this is not a small matter. If you break one CFL and clean it up, you will have an average exposure of 5 to 10 times the reportable exposure level established by OSHA, EPA, and all 50 state environmental agencies. Mercury is also cummulative and the more you expose your self the higher the impact on your health. Have you seen pictues of guys in white suits and respirators doing cleanups? That is the legal requirement to clean up a bulb in a work place. The problem is so serious, EPA is proposing manditory mercury testing of houses for sale at a cost of $4-10,000 each. Cleanup could reach $10,000 per room.

chuck

With all the CFL’s being used aren’t we right to be concerned over the accumulation of mercury in land fills after the last one burns out or buried?

Adam

I would guess that NYC doesn’t make the list because a boatload of people rent, and utilities are included. Incentives to reduce kwh at the end user level don’t exist in such an arrangement, and landlords couldn’t be bothered.

Tanya

Most NYC renters actually take care of their own utilities at least electricity. NYC didn’t make the list because overall the city has a long way to go when compared to others when it comes certain “green” things. Many home owners and buildings still use oil boilers instead of natural gas, new buildings many times are built with “sleeves” for air conditioning units instead of central air units. The apartment buildings do not give individual units the ability to control their own temperature. The building I live in now is only 7 years old and we were fitted with a sleeve for an AC unit in each room. Why? In the winter the boiler is on so high that it is 80+ degrees in our apt and the only way to cool it is to open the window. No exactly efficient.

The city its self does well with recycling, all city trash cans are sorted and rubbish is recycled properly. There are even programs that encourage building supers to become knowledgeable on making their buildings more efficient and sustainable (HVAC and envelope). But for every one of those awesome programs there are 1,000+ people that are not informed on sustainability. For NYC being known as the nanny city, the government has done very little to inform its residents of sustainability. I’ve lived here for almost a decade and it amazes me that my little hometown in Iowa (Dubuque) is overall more conscious of sustainability and efficiency.

Paulie Walker

I would like to know how the move to more efficient lighting has affected electricity consumption overall. I would have thought it would be having a significant impact but is demand for electricity elsewhere negating that decrease in demand for energy for lighting?

Ed Galbraith

Power companies are now charging more because consumption went down. What was the real reason to encourage CFL’s and LED’s? Simply put there will not be any new generation plants, or at least fewer built saving the power companies tons of money. Their bottom line will stay pretty close to the same leaving, as usual, customers paying more and exec’s slapping each other on the back for solving that problem.

Richard

Ed, I don’t think so, The average home today will be using more electricity than before with the addition of more electrical devices.

James Barends

it depends how they spin the numbers. In Philly, they claim a huge drop, but they mix industrial, commercial and residential numbers together. 98% of the drop is directly caused by closing plants and moving offices. Residential consumption is actually slightly higher. Most cities have seen the same issue. They also only report electricity that is paid for. In the PECO Philly region, there is a huge segment of people who do not pay a dime, over 25% of Philly. Between state law and city rules, it takes nearly a year to shut off power for none payment. After two years your record is clear to sign up again with no deposit. In house holds with 2 or 3 adults, they sign up and pay one month then stop. When they get cut off, (always in the spring) the next one get signed up. It is the real reason our rates are one of the highest in the country.

Biff tanon

It don’t make no diff biff, we all gonna die some day any way.

Roger

They put Milwaukee where Madison is located. So which city is on the list… Milwaukee or Madison?

Jim Maddry

Milwaukee, WI is labeled on this map, but it’s located where Madison lies on a map.

So, did Madison actually make the top 50 and was incorrectly labeled, or does the map maker not know where Milwaukee is?

JXM

What would also be interesting to see is a historical map of CFL purchases. In my own case, I replaced the bulk of my lighting with CFLs and am waiting for those to die before switching to LED. I suspect that the city rankings would be much different if the figures for LED and CFL were combined.

Lew Ramsey

You make a very excellent point. I don’t have any incandescent bulbs. The bulk of mine are CFL. Before I moved to my current location, I had some CFLs that were 20 years old. The bulk of my replacements have been a preference for that white light of 5000k+, not because of a need.

Jose Baldemar Chavez

You do make a good point, also consider that incandescents are being phased out. Perhaps in certain areas where CFLs have been been rolled out earlier were bought and are still in use so their purchases have gone down when this data was compiled. While other areas have been forced to buy CFLs recently because incadescents are being phased out and is being back loaded when this data was compiled.

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