What are LED impostors, and why should you care?

Cheap, low-quality LED bulbs are flooding the market and, at Efficiency Vermont, we’re taking it pretty seriously.

Historically, the LEDs on the market have been ENERGY STAR® certified, and LEDs have become synonymous with high-quality; known for long life, even glow, and color temperature accuracy as much as for their energy efficiency. But new, cheaply made impostors carry none of these hallmarks. Look closer, and their claims for light output, lifetime, and performance are far lower—but most people never look that closely.

Our concern is that, if Vermonters end up buying these low-quality bulbs, their impressions of LED technology will suffer. Not only that, their impression of energy efficiency may suffer as well. Think back ten years ago, when people were just beginning to buy CFLs. Because early CFLs didn’t perform as well as they could have (odd color rendering, flickering, etc), the experience left many consumers with a bad taste—not just around CFL technology but around energy efficiency in general. They began to associate saving energy with sacrificing quality.

Since then, a lot has changed. Far better products are on the market and—thanks in large part to you, our partners—energy efficient services and providers are known for high quality work. People’s impression of energy efficiency has come a long way, and we’d like to keep it that way.

Customer education

We want people to know that not all LEDs are created equal and that they should always look for the ENERGY STAR logo. We’re getting the word out through updated web content, blog posts, buying guides, social media, targeted email, Google search campaigns, in-person events, and more.

A few examples:

Competitive pricing

For a limited time we've increased our support of ENERGY STAR screw- and pin-based LED bulbs by lowering in-store pricing to $1.95.

Check out the new consumer-facing rebate page.

Here’s what you can do:


    If you purchase screw- or pin-based LEDs as part of your business, be sure you look for the ENERGY STAR logo. Even if your customers never know, you’ll avoid unpleasant call-backs, and the overall impression you leave will be far better.

  • Talk to your customers

    Let your customers know about the variances in LED quality, and that you always choose and recommend ENERGY STAR. They’ll appreciate your expertise, and—hopefully—you’ll prevent them from purchasing low-quality bulbs.

    Working together, we can help Vermonters benefit from the right products and preserve the positive reputation of energy efficiency we’ve all worked hard to build.