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Friday, January 02, 2009

Phase out of 100W light bulbs begins in the UK
Yesterday, 1 Jan 2009, a voluntary agreement between the UK government and the country's retailers came into force, which will see 100W (<60W) domestic incandescent light bulbs being phased out by many of the UK's biggest shops, as suppliers cease to replace their stock of inefficient light bulbs.

Once the existing stock has been used up incandescent light bulbs will be replaced by halogen lamps (which use 25% less electricity) and compact fluorescent lamps (which use 65-80% less electricity to produce an equivalent amount of light).

Although the making of this agreement was little noticed it has already resulted in 150W (<100W) light bulbs being phased out and will be extended to include 60W (<40W) light bulbs next year...

In addition, a legally binding EU-wide ban on 100W light bulbs will also come into force in September 2009 and a similar ban is due to come into force in Australia in Nov 2009 (although BTB has been unable to find any of the relevant legislation from Australia online yet).

In a recent review of the performance of compact fluorescent lamps, which the Ban The Bulb campaign conducted for The Guardian newspaper, Tesco (81p), GE (£4 each) and Philips (£4 each) were found to offer the best energy saving alternatives to 100W incandescents.

Following recent improvements in LEDs, Ban The Bulb campaign believes that before long incandescents, halogen lamps and CFLs will all be replaced by domestic LEDs, which offer 90% energy savings and 25x -50x longer lifetimes are the future.

This campaign is certainly very pleased with the performance of the domestic table lamp 4W LED substitute for 40W incandescents made by ECOLED.

Apart from offering massive energy savings and much longer lifetimes, LEDs offer instant full brightness, dimmability and zero mercury content.

LEDs are still rather expensive to buy, so Ban The Bulb would like to see governments taking rapid and firm measures to ensure that this functional and available technology is brought to the mass market as quickly as possible, so that it can benefit from the economies of scale.

Making full use of LEDs would help consumers to save money on their energy bills, help energy companies to build fewer power stations and enable the environment to benefit from significantly fewer lighting associated carbon emissions than is currently the case (if the whole of the EU used CFLs instead of incandescents this would save 23 - 53 Million tonnes of CO2 per annum across Europe or put another way 10 power station's worth of electricity).

Anyway, the Ban The Bulb campaign is glad with the progress that has been made since it was set up in Feb 2005, and invited to write an article for BBC News Online in Feb 2006, so let's see whether LEDs can be made the new target within 2009!

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