IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Compact fluorescent lighting and residential natural gas consumption: Testing for interactive effects


  • Brunner, Eric J.
  • Ford, Peter S.
  • McNulty, Mark A.
  • Thayer, Mark A.


Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) has traditionally been seen as a cost effective means of promoting energy conservation. Recently, however, the magnitude of energy savings associated with CFLs has been called into question. Specifically, recent findings suggest an "interactive effect" associated with the replacement of incandescent light bulbs with CFLs in the residential sector. In this scenario, the reduced wattage of CFLs, relative to incandescent bulbs, generates less heat, which in turn, requires additional natural gas usage during the heating season. Engineering studies suggest the magnitude of the effect is significant in energy terms, which implies that the energy savings associated with CFLs may be significantly overstated. In this paper, we use billing analysis to test for the presence of interactive effects. Our analysis is based on a comprehensive dataset that includes monthly household electricity and natural gas usage, the number of CFL bulbs installed, the installation date, and a set of household characteristics. Our results suggest that CFLs do indeed save electricity. However, we do not find any support for the hypothesis that CFLs cause increased usage of natural gas.

Suggested Citation

  • Brunner, Eric J. & Ford, Peter S. & McNulty, Mark A. & Thayer, Mark A., 2010. "Compact fluorescent lighting and residential natural gas consumption: Testing for interactive effects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1288-1296, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:1288-1296

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gilbert E. Metcalf & Kevin A. Hassett, 1999. "Measuring The Energy Savings From Home Improvement Investments: Evidence From Monthly Billing Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 516-528, August.
    2. Sanchez, Marla C. & Brown, Richard E. & Webber, Carrie & Homan, Gregory K., 2008. "Savings estimates for the United States Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR voluntary product labeling program," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2098-2108, June.
    3. Banerjee, Abhijit & Solomon, Barry D., 2003. "Eco-labeling for energy efficiency and sustainability: a meta-evaluation of US programs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 109-123, January.
    4. Wall, Rob & Crosbie, Tracey, 2009. "Potential for reducing electricity demand for lighting in households: An exploratory socio-technical study," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1021-1031, March.
    5. Frederick D. Sebold & Eric W. Fox, 1985. "Realized Savings from Residential Conservation Activity," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 73-88.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Reynolds, Travis & Kolodinsky, Jane & Murray, Byron, 2012. "Consumer preferences and willingness to pay for compact fluorescent lighting: Policy implications for energy efficiency promotion in Saint Lucia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 712-722.
    2. Aman, M.M. & Jasmon, G.B. & Mokhlis, H. & Bakar, A.H.A., 2013. "Analysis of the performance of domestic lighting lamps," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 482-500.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:1288-1296. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.