A new light display is illuminating Europe – one that is more energy efficient. As of today, no new retail orders will be possible for directional halogen bulbs in EU countries and therefore the last halogens left in stores will not be replaced with new stock. Halogen bulbs can waste up to 10 times more energy that LEDs and the first targets of the halogen bulb ban, which will go into full effect in 2018, are GU10 spotlights and PAR30 floodlights.
Which? magazine last month advised its readers to switch to LEDs, which can cut lighting electricity bills by up to 90%, according to the cool products efficiency campaign.
“With bulb purchase costs included, British homes on the average tariff will pay £126 per socket over a 10-year period for halogen lights, compared to £16 for LEDs,” said Jack Hunter, a coolproducts spokesman.
It will also rein in greenhouse gas emissions, as lighting accounts for about as much power use as the residential electricity consumption of the UK, France, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands combined.
But light bulb efficiency has become a touchstone for eurosceptics, with the Daily Mail last year campaigning over the issue and the rightwing commentator James Delingpole declaring himself “incandescent with rage” at the prospect of a halogen ban.
While the new EU benchmarks could be replaced by UK-only rules after Brexit, this might also force manufacturers to adjust their production lines to meet the differing efficiency standard, with costs passed through to consumers.
Campaigners fear it could also lead to importers deluging Britain with shoddy products that ramp up energy bills.
“The media lampoons EU energy standards, but they are essential for keeping energy bills down,” Hunter said. “As the British economy has grown over the last decade, energy consumption has actually dropped, in large part because EU rules have forced firms to invent more efficient fridges, TVs etc.”
Considering that a fifth of the overall halogen bulb market in Europe was from directional halogen bulbs, the ban will undoubtedly have an impact on energy consumption. Seeing similar regulations implemented in the U.S. and other countries would not be such a bad idea – or a “no-brainer” as the European commission put it.
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