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Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: 15 years later

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Robert Spekman, Tayloe Murphy, Paul Farris and Marjorie Webb

Darden Publishing

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Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: 15 years later

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Last year covered in case 


Who would have anticipated that the lyrics “It’s not easy being green” would apply to the light bulb business? Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) lasted five to six times longer—8,000 to 12,000 hours—than comparable incandescent bulbs and consumed 75% less energy. Yet even though prices had fallen as low as $2 or so per bulb, as of July 2008, manufacturers had yet to crack the code on how to get consumers to choose these innovative energy-efficient light bulbs over standard bulbs.

Teaching note

  • N/A

Key Management Reading

  • Ambec, S. & Lanoie, P. (2008). Does it pay to be green? A systematic overview. Academy of Management Perspectives. 45-62
  • Reinhardt, F. (1999). Bringing the Environment Down to Earth. Harvard Business Review. July; 149-157 

    Other Readings

    • Wilson M, Schwarzman M, Malloy T, Fanning E, Sinsheimer P. (2008) Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California. Special Report to the California Environmental Protection Agency. University of California Centers for Occupational and Environmental Health 
    • Poliakoff, M., & Anastas, P. (2001). A principled stance. Nature, 413(6853), 257.
    • Hjeresen, D.L., Kirchoff, M.M., Lankley, R.L. (2002) Green Chemistry: Environment, economics and competitiveness. Corporate Environmental Strategy, 9(3). 259-266 
    • Manley, Anastas, Cue. (2008) Frontiers in Green Chemistry: meeting the grand challenges for sustainability in R&D and manufacturing. Journal of cleaner production. 16:743-750 
    • Larson, A. (2006) Illustrating the Financial Benefits of Green Chemistry. Darden Business Publishing. Case #: UVA-ENT-0076

    Audio/Visual Material

    Discussion Questions

    • Which principles of green chemistry are used in the case?

      Green Chemistry Principle

      • Principle 6 Design for Energy Efficiency

      Building and Architecture

      Teaching Topic
      Corporate Citizenship
      Environmental Issues
      Social Marketing
      Technological change and development

      Management Discipline

      Business Logic
      Differentiating Products
      Reduced cost 

      Environmental Issue
      Climate Change

      North America

      Self Identified as Green Chemistry?

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