It can be easy to bad-mouth Wal-Mart, but according to the New York Times the megaretailer is getting behind compact fluorescent bulbs in a big way this year, with the goal to get them into at least 100 million homes by 2008. It’s easier said than done — despite the fact that compact fluorescents use 75 percent less electricity and last ten times longer, consumers have remained loyal to inefficient incandescent bulbs, partly because fluorescents have a higher initial cost and generally give off less pleasing light — but if anyone has the retail muscle to make it happen, it’s Wal-Mart, right?
The Times reports that they’ve been looking for better ways to market the bulbs, including better placement in store, getting manufacturers to change packaging to emphasize energy savings, and even a website proposed by “An Inconvenient Truth” producer Lawrence Bender that would track sales of compact fluorescents at retailers around the country, showing real-time data about how much energy Americans have saved by switching. No matter how they get there, if Wal-Mart is able to accomplish its goal, by 2008 the United States will have saved $3 billion in energy costs. We’re glad to see the big box retailer taking such initiative.