Wal-Mart Aims to Sell 100 Million Efficient Light Bulbs in 2007
December 20, 2006
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced in late November that it has set a goal of selling 100 million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) at its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores by the end of 2007. CFLs can replace conventional incandescent bulbs in most light fixtures, using about 75 percent less electricity and generally lasting much longer than incandescent bulbs. The twisted spiral shape of modern CFLs allows them to fit into fixtures for which earlier CFLs were too big, and although CFLs have always paid for themselves many times over in energy savings, the dropping prices on CFLs are making their up-front costs more palatable for consumers. Wal-Mart plans to achieve its 2007 goal through marketing promotions and in-store displays. The company estimates that selling 100 million CFLs will save its customers $3 billion in electricity costs while avoiding the emission of 20 million tons of greenhouse gases. See the Wal-Mart press release.
The Wal-Mart goals will contribute greatly to the "Change a Light, Change the World" campaign, an annual effort of DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The campaign encourages U.S. residents to replace a conventional bulb or fixture in their home or workplace with one that has earned the government's Energy Star label for energy efficiency. This year, the campaign saw significant contributions from the states. According to the Energy Star Web site, as of December 19th the Delaware Energy Office had gathered 71,341 pledges to replace a total of 142,682 light bulbs. Georgia Power Company was a close second with 66,844 pledges to replace 70,573 bulbs. Commonwealth Edison in Chicago, Illinois, focused on sales instead, offering CFLs for as low as 99 cents at nearly 350 retailers. As a result, ComEd sold more than 1.2 million CFLs through its discount program, which was funded by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and participating northern Illinois retailers. But it's hard to beat Southern California Edison (SCE), which helps school groups and other organizations sell CFLs for their local fundraisers. See the Energy Star Web site, the press release from Exelon Corporation (ComEd's parent company), the SCE "Lights for Learning" Web site, and for background, see the article from the October 11th edition of this newsletter.