Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Exploration of energy conservation measures in U.S. and Japan provides lessons, insights
A survey of energy conservation programs in each country provides knowledge for future promotion of efficient lighting technologies.

Photo by David Gobbi. Used with permission.

As consumers of 30 percent of the world’s energy, the United States and Japan have each enacted energy conservation legislation and promoted energy awareness to their respective citizens. Growing concerns about power generation using fossil fuel combustion have propelled the development and use of energy-efficient lighting in each country as well.

The Lighting Research Center, under funding from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, conducted a survey of energy conservation programs related to electronic ballasts and CFLs in the United States and Japan. The report, “Comparing Lighting Energy Conservation Measures in the United States and Japan,” compares regulations, incentives and awareness measures in each country.

“Our purpose with this survey was to identify how these programs have contributed to the commercialization and adoption of electronic ballasts and CFLs, as well as what each country could do to increase the spread of energy-efficient lighting technologies,” said Yukio Akashi, Ph.D., LRC senior research scientist who led the project. The survey incorporated a literature review and a series of interviews and roundtable meetings with experts in the United States and Japan.

The survey research found the countries to have a number of similar programs but with differences in implementation. For example, while both countries’ have comparable regulatory energy laws for manufacturers and builders, the U.S. federal and state governments mandate efficiency levels; Japan’s efficiency targets are mostly voluntary. Rebate programs are implemented most often in the United States, whereas Japan uses tax incentives. Residential use of CFLs is more common in Japan, partly because consumer awareness of energy-efficient lighting appears to be higher in that country than in the United States. However, U.S. consumers have greater access to independent data on efficiency and quality.

“One of the important findings of this study is that Japanese consumers are in need of third-party evaluations of lighting products so that they can more appropriately choose energy-efficient products such as electronic ballasts and CFLs,” said Akashi. Japanese consumers have access to comprehensive energy-efficiency data for a variety of electric appliances, including fluorescent lamp luminaires, but this data is obtained from manufacturers and is not otherwise verified. “An independent testing program such as the U.S.’s National Lighting Product Information Program may be a good model for a similar program in Japan.”

The survey also cited the need for more consumer awareness campaigns and demonstration programs in the United States to increase the adoption of energy-efficient lighting technologies.

A summary of the paper was published on the Web site of the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, and a Japanese translation was printed in the foundation’s newsletter.

For details about this survey, read the full paper.

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment



2004 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180 USA.

Rennselear Polytechnic Institute