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

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

Abstract

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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    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.

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