From: EurActive
Published September 1, 2012 10:09 AM

Incandescent Light Bulbs have served us well but now it is time to turn them off!

After more than a century lighting up the world, the switch will be flicked off across the EU for the final time on incandescent bulbs on Saturday as the phased ban on their sale is completed.
From 1 September, an EU directive aimed at reducing the energy use of lighting means that retailers will no longer be allowed to sell 40W and 25W incandescent bulbs. Similar bans came into effect for 60W and 100W incandescent bulbs over the past three years. The restrictions are predicted to save 39 terawatt-hours of electricity across the EU annually by 2020.

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Earlier this year, the UK government said the ban would bring an "average annual net benefit" of £108m to the UK between 2010 and 2020 in energy savings. But the phase-out of incandescents has been met with resistance by some users who say replacement technologies, such as CFLs, halogens and LEDs, do not perform as well. Despite the substantial long-term financial savings promised, the higher upfront price of replacement bulbs has also been criticised by those opposing the ban.

"The phase-out has been very smooth," said Peter Hunt, joint chief executive of the Lighting Industry Association. "Concerns about poor performance of replacement bulbs have been proved wrong. The new LED replacements for halogen downlighters that have come on to the market over the past year work just as well, for example. Price is still a barrier, but that's coming down almost daily as volume increases."

Hunt said "scaremongering" about people stockpiling incandescents to beat the ban had proved to be unfounded: "There is no evidence to support this. Even so-called loopholes — the 'rough-service' incandescent bulbs that a few retailers are reported to still be selling — are overplayed. The law is clear: they should not be sold for household use. It says so on the packaging. Any retailer is risking a visit from government inspectors if they continue to sell them."

Before the phase-out began in 2009, an estimated 200m incandescent bulbs were sold each year in the UK. But the ban has not achieved as much of a reduction in energy use as was first hoped, said Hunt. "There is a trend now to use more and more lighting in our homes. The popularity of halogen downlighters in homes has halted the decline in energy use. This will continue until LED downlighters become the norm."

Light Bulb via Shutterstock.

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