Europe puts off halogen ban until 2018

The European Commission today agreed with conventional lighting industry arguments and voted to postpone a ban on halogen lamps until September 2018.

It did not, however, extend the ban until 2020, which lighting industry body LightingEurope had lobbied for. The decision is sure to rankle newer, LED specialist companies like Neonlite and its Megaman brand,who had argued against any extension.

The EC had set the 2016 date back in 2009, giving the industry seven years to prepare for it. Halogens are a form of incandescent lamp – the EC has already banned others – and are highly inefficient compared to newer LED and CFL energy-saving lamps.

But the industry lobbied hard in recent months to delay the ban, saying that seven years was not going to be long enough. It argued among other things that Europe would face a lamp shortage because there would not be enough quality LED lamps to meet general demand.

It also said the industry needed more time to develop LEDs with features to which consumers are accustomed, such as standard dimming, multi-directional light beams, and good colour rendering, at an affordable price.

‘Postponing the phase-out will bring more efficient products to the market, and give consumers the possibility to choose the best performing lamp for their needs,’ the EC said in a press release. It did not immediately clarify its logic – more efficient products like LED lamps are already coming into the market, and it’s unclear how the 2018 extension will change that.

‘Switching from an average halogen lamp to an energy-efficient LED will already save approximately €115 ($124) over the LED’s lifetime of up to 20 years, and pay back its cost within a year,’ the release stated. ‘This savings will increase further by 2018 with lower LED prices and a better LED performance.’

Applying the same logic, the EC claimed that sticking with a 2016 ban would have cost European consumers €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in energy savings which they will now get by waiting until 2018.

But it also pointed out that ‘halogen lamps are very inefficient (energy efficiency class “D”).’

It further noted that, ‘novel technologies, such as LEDs offer a high savings potential: the consumption of a halogen lamp is often more than five times higher than the one of an energy-efficient LED. As a result, member states agreed in 2009 that such inefficient “D”-class halogen lamps should be phased-out from 1 September 2016.’

Some industry observers suggest that the EC delayed the ban to allow traditional lighting companies like Philips and Osram more time to adjust and to deal with difficult job losses associated with abandoning halogen.

‘Everyone agrees that a maximum of around 6,800 job losses in halogen lamp production are inevitable and will happen irrespective of any policy intervention due to the arrival of LEDs,’ the EC said. ‘The phase-out of halogen lamps and faster market uptake of LEDs can help overcome some of these negative impacts by focusing on high value creation and employment opportunities in the EU. Deferring the phase-out to 1 September 2018 gives manufacturers the time to create replacement jobs in these areas, while supporting innovative companies in the EU providing novel lighting solutions based on LEDs.’

The ban does not apply to all halogens. It mainly covers pear-shaped bulbs that look like conventional incandescent lamps but contain a halogen component. It does not apply to spotlights or to many desk lamps.

LightingEurope Secretary General Diederik de Stoppelaar called the 2018 date an ‘acceptable compromise.’ He noted:

  • ‘The industry strongly supports — and has for years — the changeover to more energy-efficient lighting solutions. While 2020 was the ideal date for a phase-out of the popular domestic halogens, 2018 is an acceptable compromise. What consumers must realise, is that alternative developing technologies take time to be fully realised — and then to subsequently be widely available on the market.’

Retailers avoid ban on traditional light bulbs

You may have noticed the recent articles on both the Telegraph and Daily Mail web-sites. “Retailers avoid ban on traditional light bulbs” by Edward Malnick and Daniel Martin. www.nlandc.co.uk are pleased to offer the largest and most competitively priced “rough service” “Tough lamps” of any of the online retailers.

The final phase of the European Union’s long ridiculous campaign to ban traditional light bulbs will take place from 1st September 2012 with the ban on 40w light bulbs.

The 100w version were the first to go, then the 60w. Now, from this week 1st September 2012 the 40w bulb will be phased out!

For everyone that still prefers the warm incandescent bulbs that have no warm up time and give a bright instant light that we have used since Thomas Edison first invented it in 1879, there are still some companies like National Lamps and Components that can help.

The European Union directive banning standard incandescent lamps refers only to those meant for “household lamps”, meaning retailers can continue to supply bulbs intended for “industrial use”.

At least two British lamp importers are now selling thousands of “rough service” or so called “Tough lamps” which are available in a variety of cap types which look identical to and work exactly the same way as-the bulbs that will be outlawed by the European Union directive.

These bulbs are not being sold by major supermarkets most of which have voluntarily stopped selling incandescent bulbs, but they will continue to be available from specialist lighting and lamp shops, as well as online retailers like www.nlandc.co.uk, www.lamps2udirect.co.uk and www.enviro-lights.co.uk.

These bulbs are usually manufactured with an extra filament support and a thicker filament making them less likely to be broken by shock or vibration.

The cartons are usually marked “rough service” or “Tough lamp” and have double the life of a standard household lamp.

One large manufacturer, Bell, recently sent lamp distributors like www.nlandc.co.uk a list of incandescent “Tough lamps” which said “don’t panic – All incandescent Tough lamps will be available from stock in September, candle shape, golf ball shape and standard household GLS shape.

Now the National Measurement Office, the Government agency responsible for enforcing the ban on traditional bulbs, have warned householders against buying rough-service bulbs, saying “consideration should be given to the terms and conditions of any household insurance policy if such lamps are used for illuminating your home.”

“We don’t live in a nanny state at all do we”!

David Gradley

Managing Director

MR16s to be banned in 2013

Low-voltage halogen lamps are set to be banned under draft legislation from the European commission.

Under Ecodesign legislation, ‘poor performing’ 12V MR16s will be phased out next year. Better performing versions, including those with infra-red coatings will follow by 2016.

The phase-out is part of the Ecodesign legislation which also put paid to the 60W incandescent lamp late last year.

The draft documentation for the publication will be published shortly but lighting designers and manufacturers are said to be concerned by the restrictions that will be imposed by the ban.