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2007 Survey of Household Energy Use (SHEU-2007) – Summary Report

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II. Survey findings


Lighting technology has changed dramatically in recent years, and this change is apparent in the increased variety of lighting products available to Canadian households. With this increase in variety, Canadian households have a growing opportunity to reduce the amount of energy they consume for lighting. This change promises to continue as energy efficiency regulations to phase out inefficient lighting products come into effect.

Lighting choices

The most common lighting products available to households include incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Each of these products has its advantages:

  • Incandescent light bulbs have a low initial cost, but are not energy-efficient. Only 4 percent to 6 percent of the energy that goes into the fixture produces light; the rest is dissipated as heat.
  • Halogen light bulbs contain halogens, or chemicals that minimize filament wear, resulting in a longer lamp life.
  • Fluorescent tubes are more efficient, but do not fit traditional sockets. They are not suitable for some specific applications because of their length.
  • CFLs can fit traditional sockets and give off the same amount of light as a traditional incandescent light bulb. But they consume up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.25
Penetration by bulb type

In 2007, 89 percent of respondents used at least one incandescent light bulb – by far the greatest penetration rate of all bulb types on the Canadian market. Just over one third of all households in Canada used at least one halogen light bulb in 2007. A region-by-region analysis reveals that Quebec had the highest percentage of households that used at least one halogen light bulb, at 43 percent, and Atlantic Canada had the lowest percentage, at 22 percent (see Chart 56).

Chart 56. Penetration rate of halogen light bulbs, by region, 2007.

Almost half of Canadian households used at least one fluorescent tube in 2007. Regionally, the percentage of households who used at least one fluorescent tube was greater west of Quebec (see Chart 57). Consequently, Manitoba/Saskatchewan and British Columbia were the two regions with the highest percentage of households who used at least one fluorescent tube (58 percent and 57 percent, respectively). Quebec and Atlantic Canada had the two lowest percentages (38 percent and 42 percent, respectively).

Chart 57. Penetration rate of fluorescent tubes, by region, 2007.

CFLs have the second highest penetration rate of any light bulb type in Canada, behind incandescent light bulbs. In 2007, nearly three out of every four dwellings had at least one CFL. This fraction was nearly twice the number of households with halogen light bulbs. Every region was within four percentage points of the national average, with Ontario leading the way (see Chart 58). In both British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, 71 percent of their households had at least one CFL. The other three regions each had 67 percent of their dwellings with at least one CFL.

Chart 58. Penetration rate of CFLs, by region, 2007.

Number of light bulbs

SHEU found that the average Canadian household used 24.2 light bulbs in 2007. Just fewer than 50 percent of the light bulbs used by Canadians were ordinary (incandescent) light bulbs (see Chart 59). The next most popular light bulb used by the average household was CFLs (22 percent), followed by halogen light bulbs (17 percent) and fluorescent tubes (13 percent).

Chart 59. Type of light bulbs used by the average household, 2007.

Energy-efficient light bulbs, such as halogen light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and CFLs, comprised over half of the average household’s light bulbs. The survey data also show that only 1 out of every 20 households did not use any of these energy-efficient light bulbs in 2007.

Among households that used a halogen light bulb in 2007, 49 percent used between one and five halogen light bulbs, while 51 percent used six or more halogen light bulbs (see Chart 60).

Chart 60. Number of light bulbs used among households with at least one of that specific bulb, by bulb type, 2007.

Among households with at least one CFL, 36 percent had between 1 and 5, 31 percent had between 6 and 10, and the remaining 33 percent used 11 or more. Among households who used a fluorescent tube in 2007, only 36 percent used more than five fluorescent tubes, while 64 percent used between one and five. Incandescent light bulbs had the smallest degree of variation, ranging from a low of 20 percent of dwellings with an incandescent bulb having between 1 and 5 of the bulbs to a high of 30 percent of dwellings having between 11 and 20 bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs were the only type of bulb that did not have the largest percentage of dwellings with that type of bulb using between 1 and 5 bulbs.

Among respondents, the average dwelling had 24.2 light bulbs, with incandescent bulbs being the most popular type in all regions (see Chart 61). The average number of light bulbs by region varied by just over 6 bulbs, from a low of 20.9 in Quebec to 27.1 in Alberta. CFLs were the second most popular bulb in all regions except Quebec, where halogen light bulbs were the second most popular. Nationally, halogen light bulbs were the third most popular bulb, and fluorescent tubes were the least popular.

Chart 61. Average number of light bulbs, by bulb type and region, 2007.

The number of light bulbs in a dwelling was linked with the type of dwelling (see Chart 62). Single detached houses, which are the largest of all dwelling types, had on average the most light bulbs per dwelling – eight more bulbs than the average double/row house. In all dwelling types, incandescent light bulbs were the most common, ranging from a low of 45 percent of light bulbs in double/row houses to a high of 57 percent in high-rise apartments. CFLs were the second most common bulb in all dwelling types except high-rise apartments. CFLs ranged from a high of 28 percent of the bulbs in mobile homes to a low of 13 percent of the bulbs in high-rise apartments. Halogen light bulbs were the third most popular choice, except in high-rise apartments. In most dwelling types, halogen light bulbs and fluorescent tubes were used in similar proportions.

Chart 62. Average number of light bulbs, by bulb type, by dwelling type, 2007.

25 Natural Resources Canada,“Choosing Lighting Fixtures – Determine Your Needs,”

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