No more Ordinary Light Bulbs, What Now?

No more Ordinary Light Bulbs, What Now?

A simple guide to the incandescent light bulb ban.

The EU directive (EC 244-2009) set out a timetable for phasing out incandescent and halogen light bulbs. Beginning in September 2016 all incandescent light bulbs were banned. It has taken a few years to use the residual stock and are now at the point where it’s increasingly difficult to obtain them. It is not illegal to buy, sell or otherwise use incandescent light bulbs if you can get hold of them.

On 1st September 2019 the halogen light bulb ban came into force. They are banned from use in all but a few specialist applications. It will take some time for residual stocks to be used but they will become more difficult to obtain as time passes.

It is estimated that the switch to energy saving lamp bulbs will save 93 TWh/year in the EU. This is more than the energy consumption of Croatia. It will also avoid annual emissions of 35 million tonnes of CO2.

So, what has actually happened and why?

The EU decided that we need to cut our carbon emissions drastically. Part of the strategy is to reduce electrical consumption by phasing out incandescent and halogen lamp bulbs. Incandescent and halogen bulbs are very inefficient. Watts are a measurement of electricity, not of light output. When we pass a current through the tungsten filament it glows white-hot. This is what gives off the light. Unfortunately, only around 10% of the energy used is given off in light with the remaining 90% being given off in heat. This makes these light bulbs only 10% efficient and that in part has led to their downfall. There are now two real alternatives, both of which save energy and so save you money in electricity costs. It really depends if the light bulb is visible or not.

CFL light bulbs. If your light fitting has shades or the light bulb is otherwise hidden the CFL lamp is a realistic alternative. They are typically 75% more efficient than incandescent or halogen light bulbs and last up to ten times longer, although the initial purchase cost is greater. These will continue to be available in every type of cap and have come a long way since the early days. They now reach maximum brightness quicker than ever and are also available in spiral form, which means that they give off more light for less space.

LED light bulbs. LED lighting is the future. They run cool, are ultra-reliable, consume 90% less electricity than incandescent or halogen light bulbs and the quality lamps last for over 35000 hours. They are available in different colour temperatures to ensure that you get the right type of light for each application.

LED light bulbs have been around for years now, mainly as a replacement for halogen GU10 or MR16 spotlight bulbs. They are extremely efficient, typically saving 90% in energy. A 3w LED GU10 replacement lamp gives around same amount of light output as a 40w halogen light bulb. Our LED light bulbs are ultra-reliable, generate very little heat and can typically last 12 – 15 years in the home, up to 20 times longer that a halogen GU10. Care should be taken when buying this type of replacement lamp as not all LED’s are of the same quality. Choose a quality product with a good history of research and development; using high quality LED’s and you will reap the benefits with reduced electricity bills for many years to come.

We stock every type of LED replacement bulb. The cost of LED lamp bulbs has dropped considerably and they now cost 50% less than they did five years ago. They are now the same size as traditional incandescent lamps. LED bulbs are now available with filaments, so they look identical to the old-style bulbs.

Conclusion. There is really nothing for us to worry about. The incandescent light bulb was first patented by Thomas Edison in 1879 and has changed very little since. It has reached the end of the road due to its design and inefficiency. There are alternatives available to suite every type of light fitting that are more efficient and cost effective. The key is to shop around, ask questions and try them out until you find a light bulb that suits you.

If you require any further advice or have any questions in relation to this article, please contact us.