Sales of inefficient light bulbs plummet as Kiwis embrace LEDs

Supermarket sales of energy-hungry  incandescent light bulbs have halved since 2015, a trend welcomed by EECA.

However Chief Executive Andrew Caseley says there’s a way to go before all New Zealand homes have switched to energy efficient and climate-friendly LEDs.

Mr Caseley says about 4.6 million incandescent light bulbs1 were sold in the year from May 2015 to end of April 2016, dropping to about 2.8 million in the year to the end of April 2019. Sales of LEDs have grown from about 248,500 in 2015 to over 604,000 to the end of April 2019, Mr Caseley says.

“These trends are very encouraging because LEDs save households money and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through reduced energy use. If 100,000 more New Zealanders switched all their household lighting to LEDs, that would prevent 1,669 tonnes of C02 being released into the atmosphere per year – that’s equivalent to roughly 35,000 people not flying from Auckland to Wellington per year.”

EECA’s Gen Less campaign is currently focusing on LEDs as an easy way for New Zealanders to reduce their carbon footprint. Mr Caseley says the message about the benefits of LEDs is getting through but he would like to see households replacing more of their lights with LEDs.

“It’s one of the simplest things that people can do to save electricity and reduce their carbon footprint. LEDs used to be expensive but you can now buy them on special for as little as $3.00 – making them affordable for many people.”

Mr Caseley says sales of LEDs remain lower than incandescent light bulbs but points out LEDs last up to 15 times longer than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs and don’t need replacing frequently.

“People won’t be buying new LEDs every year so we think the most relevant figure is the drop in sales of inefficient incandescent light bulbs.”

Mr Caseley says EECA frequently gets questions about the practicality of switching to LEDs for people living in rentals.

“At EECA, we recommend renters switch to LEDs and carefully store the old incandescent bulbs, replacing them when they leave and taking the LEDs to the new home. We also recommend everyone treats LEDs as an appliance – keeping receipts and contacting the manufacturer if they don’t meet their warranty claims.”

1Data Source: IRI New Zealand Grocery, MarketEdge Light Bulb category, Unit and Pricing sales, data to period ending MAT to 26/05/19.

Note to Editors

EECA is the government agency that works to improve the energy efficiency of New Zealand's homes and businesses, and encourages the uptake of renewable energy.

Our purpose is to mobilise New Zealanders to be world leaders in clean and clever energy use.

Media enquiries:

Penny St John, Senior Communication Adviser, EECA

Phone: 027 687 3123

Email: penny.stjohn@eeca.govt.nz