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Those in the lighting industry, or, more specifically, those studying the effects of light on health, know that workplace lighting has an impact on the health and productivity of employees. Most companies, however, rarely (if ever) make decisions about lighting upgrades based on these “human-related” factors. The question is, if companies could be provided with empirical evidence—relating to their specific workplace—that suggests a change in lighting would affect the bottom-line, would they move forward with a lighting retrofit project?
A new poll commissioned by Leapfrog Lighting verifies a preference for financing the implementation costs of LED lighting. A total of 66.3% of business owners and managers indicated a preference to finance. Of these, 20.2% indicated yes unconditionally, 32.1% yes but dependent on the terms, and 14% yes, when the time was right. Only 16.5% of business owner and manager respondents had no intention of implementing LEDs. Interestingly, 17.2% planned to go ahead with implementations without financing.
If you look closely at the fine print in the technical datasheets or product boxes of lighting products, you will find reference to an ANSI specification C78.377-2008, which is associated with Correlated Color Temperature (CCT). This specification sets standards, or more specifically, tolerances, for color consistency among light sources. How these tolerances—what is considered an acceptable deviation in color temperature—are determined is through applying MacAdam ellipses. In this blog, we will take a closer look at MacAdam ellipses and why the lighting industry uses them to define the color point specification of lamps.
As an industry, we’ve done a great job, according to a new research poll, educating users on the energy benefits and durability of LED bulbs. We seem to have been less convincing on the issue of upfront cost.
A new survey of 200 business owners and managers revealed that upfront cost is the leading reason for a delay in implementing LED lamps in their workplace, even though 81.9 per cent have ultimately installed or plan to install.
Although 81.9 per cent of those surveyed* currently use, or plan to use, LED bulbs, 50.9 per cent of business owners said price was the main reason they had delayed—or are still delaying— implementation.
The actual question asked was, “What is the main reason you delayed implementation of LED light bulbs in your workplace?”
“Upfront costs” was the only significant objection to implementation. Only 5.5 per cent doubted the claims of long life, and another 6.1 per cent doubted the energy savings. Another 19.6 per cent doubted the overall value proposition; 18 per cent were fully convinced.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone in the industry. As an industry, we have to convince users of the overall value proposition. On our website, we use an energy calculator to let users quickly calculate the overall value. They simply enter the number of bulbs, price and a few factors, and the calculator estimates the long-term savings for them.
Clearly, the 81.9 per cent of businesses who have implemented LED, or plan to do so, indicates we’ve collectively made progress as an industry. The main focus for ongoing education for us is really to help business owners and managers get past the upfront costs. While admittedly high, the overall savings are also high.
Just over half (50.9 per cent) of business owners and managers delayed implementation of LED bulbs due to upfront costs. 19.6 per cent indicated they were “not convinced of value.” It appears that the majority of business owners are convinced of the claims of long bulb life and energy savings, a combined total of 11.6 per cent.
Older cohorts were more likely to be convinced of the benefits of LED lighting; 38.9 per cent of respondents 65 years or older stated they were “convinced”, none (0 per cent) didn’t believe in the “energy savings claims” or “claims of long life” and only 27.4 per cent found upfront costs too high. Those aged 55–64 years also trended higher than average for “convinced,” and lower than average on “upfront costs” as an obstacle, at 45 per cent.
The age groups 35–44 and 18–24 were most likely to pick “upfront costs too high” at 62.9 per cent. Both age groups were also less likely to choose “convinced.”
However, higher income cohorts in the study were more likely to choose “upfront costs too high” while lower income cohorts were the least likely. Among $150,000-and-up income earners, 73.3 per cent found “upfront costs too high,” while only 44.5 per cent of $25,000–$49,999 income earners expressed that opinion.
There was some deviation by lifestyle as well, with rural businesses less concerned with upfront costs, urban businesses just under average, but suburban coming it at 58.1 per cent.
The US Northeast and Midwest were more likely to emphasize “upfront costs too high” while the US South and West were below average on that point. The US South was more likely to choose “not convinced of value” than other regional cohorts.
Males were significantly more likely to be concerned with upfront costs at 54.5 per cent versus female at 41 per cent. Females were more likely to be totally convinced of value at 33.3 per cent, versus only 14.3 per cent for males.
The blind, randomized poll canvassed the opinions of 200 business owners and managers, a segmented cohort of a larger poll drawing 2,372 responses. Data collected by a research company on behalf of Leapfrog Lighting. The poll is considered statistically accurate, subject to an error rate of 3.92 per cent. The poll has an average absolute error rate of 3.92 and a confidence level exceeding 95 per cent.
* 81.9 per cent statistic is from the same pool of surveyed business owners. This information was released previously in the research report “Leapfrog Lighting Manufacturer’s Claims Versus Real Life Experience” previously released.
It’s a given that energy savings is still the most important factor in choice of LED lighting, however a recent independent poll of business owners and managers highlights the growing importance of quality. Fully 31.4 per cent chose consistent quality of light, pleasant environment and pleasing display quality as their main reason for choosing LED—over top of energy savings. These are business owners who prefer the light quality of LED lamps.
When only 49.6% of business owners and managers believe LED bulb packaging claims—as found in a recent independent poll of business owners—this is clearly an underwhelming endorsement for the majority of available LED bulbs. Random panel polls are statistically accurate measures of opinion. Confidence in manufacturer claims in this poll result is an opinion—but it’s the opinion of the people who specify lighting products. The ones who matter.
In this randomized poll of over 200 business owners and managers we asked: “Do LED lighting product manufacturer claims on packaging match real-life performance (for example rated lifetime)?
14.3% of respondents to the new poll found that their own direct experience matched manufacturer’s claims on packaging; another 35.3% believed the claims, but not based on their own experience. In total less than 50% entirely believed manufacturer claims, and another 19.4% rated claims as only partially or inconsistently reliable.
Does this surprise industry insiders? Probably not. The entire spec-quality bulb niche in the LED bulb market is built on the premise of higher standard, higher quality. This poll dips into perceptions on the overall market. The 50.4% who did not entirely believe manufacturer claims are the business owners and managers who will most likely spec the higher quality bulbs.
“Our own experience is that many people find Leapfrog Lighting and purchase our spec quality bulbs because of past negative experience with a different brand,” said Stephen Naor, CEO of Leapfrog Lighting.
Age is certainly a factor in responses, with the younger respondents tending to believe claims while the older cohorts tended not to believe manufacturers. Older respondents tended to be more likely to be less positive on manufacturer’s claims, with only 20% believing claims versus 65.7% for the younger cohort of 25-35 year-olds. 20% of the 55-64 year-old respondent cohort answered “yes in my direct experience” and 0% answered “yes, I believe so” for a total of 20%. 25-34 year-olds were most likely to answer “yes, in my direct experience” at 47.9%, and another 17.8% “yes, I believe so, for a total of 65.7%. 18-24 year-olds were the most likely of all cohorts to answer yes, with a sum of 81%, while the strongest “no” votes went to 65 plus year-olds at 27.8%
Rural business owners tended to be slightly less likely to respond positively to manufacturer’s claims with 9.5% responding “yes, in my direct experience” versus 19.5% for urban and 15.9% for suburban.
We can conclude from the poll that just over half of business owners and managers are not convinced of manufacturer’s claims. Until the overall industry does a better job of convincing audiences of quality and rated lifetime claims, business owners and managers are likely to continue to move towards the Energy Star rated bulbs and spec quality bulbs.
To download the full 6-page report, click here>>
LED lighting standards continue to evolve, and currently include Energy Star qualification—which focuses on energy costs and other economic factors such as durability—and the standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), known as standard LM-79. There are also voluntary standards, including a notable one from the California, the Voluntary California Quality LED Lamp Specification.
The blind, randomized poll included the opinions of 201 business owners and managers, with data collected by a research company on behalf of Leapfrog Lighting.
The poll is considered statistically accurate, subject to an error rate of 3.92%. It was conducted as a random sampling of business owners. 2372 responses to the poll were collected. The poll had an average absolute error rate of 3.92 and a confidence level exceeding 95%.
It seems that nearly every day we hear news of yet another municipality making the switch from traditional roadway lighting to LED. Owen Sound, Ontario voted just last week to change its 2,000 street lights to LEDs, at a cost of $1.2 million. The city says, and this is a common claim, especially by politicians, that the new lights will save taxpayers money.
But not everyone agrees that switching to LED is the right solution for street lighting. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ups and downs of LED street lighting.
Over 200 business owners and managers were asked: ” Do you believe there is sufficient standardization in the LED bulb industry (ENERGY STAR, etc)?” in a recent poll. Less than a quarter responded that standards were sufficient, while the majority (31.5%) were not sure if standards were sufficient. 20.3% believe standards are insufficient.
Since the answer phrase specified “…enough to distinguish quality” these results tend to imply that standards should include quality of light. The poll reinforces a call for a higher standard in design and manufacturing, including quality of light, as first suggested by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). “This is the goal: lighting quality, achieving the optimum balance of the practical and the aesthetic issues of the built environment. Quality of light is essential to the quality of life.” 
Cost of ownership and energy savings may be top of mind for most business owners in choosing an LED bulb, but 82.5% choose quality of light as an important or extremely important factor.
In a statistically relevant poll of 2372 business owners, 45.8% rated “quality of light” as extremely important, while 36.7% rated it as important. Only 5.8% said it was unimportant. The panel of 2372, drew 201 responses from all regions of America and in a wide cross section of cohorts: industry, region, age and gender. With a slight bias to males 25-34 years old, the poll is considered accurate, based on a confidence level of 95%, and an absolute average error rate of only 3.92%. (Download the full 6 page report here>>)
“We’ve always known our clients rate quality as the most important criterion,” said Stephen Naor, CEO of Leapfrog Lighting. “Our line of spec-quality bulbs typically draw quality-oriented clients. We were not surprised that this random poll of business owners revealed that most of us rate quality as very important.”
The question posed was “How important is the quality of light in your business environment as a factor in choosing an LED Bulb? (insert chart here). Or respondents:
With only a 6.2% sampling bias against US Census Population Data, based on the sample size and randomness factors, this poll is considered representative of business owners generally.
The opinion varies somewhat based on personal income, gender, region or lifestyle, but not significantly. For a complete breakdown of answers by age, income, region, lifestyle, download the full 6 page report here>>
“We knew quality was important to our clients,” said Mr. Naor, “but we wanted to sample the broader business community. Although we weren’t surprised by the overall result, the 82.5% was nice to see. We’ve built our entire line of product on the spec-quality premise—our Total Quality promise. This was the driving force behind our innovative Intelligent Optics technology.”
Rural business owners were slightly less likely to rate quality of light as important, with 14.7% rating it as not important versus Suburban business owners at 3.9% and Urban at 5.2%. Age also represented very little deviation, with a owners in the 30-44 year-old range slightly more likely to rate quality as not important, versus 5.9% for 45-54 year-olds and 5.5% for 25-34 year-olds.
Typically, the overall lack of deviation by age, gender and lifestyle indicates consistent importance is placed on the quality of light factor by all business owners.
At Leapfrog Lighting, we’ve always intuitively known this. Now, we have the data to support our premise. Total Quality is Leapfrog Lighting’s mission.
Baroness Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, author (1858-1909)
We agree with the Baroness. Nobody knows enough. In the pursuit of knowing more, Leapfrog Lighting undertook breakthrough market research. Polling to randomized samples sufficient to bring the margin of error to under 3%, we called out for the opinions of Americans and Canadians on LED lighting issues for business. We deliberately did not poll our customers, and chose instead to panel random business owners and managers. Already, we’ve found many surprises.
Each week, we’ll be releasing new poll results, as fully segmented reports in PDF form, commencing next week. We encourage you to download these in-depth reports.
Here are some of the questions we’ve asked — or intend to ask — in the coming weeks:
We have many more questions to ask. We hope you’ll follow along each weak as we report on these statistically significant polls.