News Article

EU Ministers Seek 2010 Bulb Ban

LEDs top the list of proposed acceptable energy-efficient lighting technologies, projected to save Europe 78 TWh/year in energy after incandescents are banned.

Government ministers from all the European Union member states have come together to call for the rapid completion of a plan to ban incandescent light bulbs.

Politicians from 27 member countries emerged from a Transport, Telecommunications and Energy meeting on October 10 asking for a ban on the least efficient bulbs from 2010.

In a statement they ask the European Commission “to submit a draft Regulation in 2008 that will launch a gradual process of phasing out, until incandescent lamps and all the worst-performing lights are banned."

This is the most specific statement of intent from European politicians to date, since a gathering of member countries heads of state demanded “increased energy efficiency" for lighting in March 2007.

Since then, the European Union has been developing draft proposals for the schedule of the move from incandescent bulbs to more efficient replacements like solid-state lighting.

The current drafts give two timescales for adoption, with the more aggressive of these phasing out incandescent lighting in a total of four years.

The more cautious framework suggests a nine-year phase-out, with 100 W-plus output incandescents being banned by 2009, and bulbs below 25 W output ultimately being banned in 2017.

When asked number one European LED manufacturer Osram its response to the politicians statement, it re-emphasized its commitment to the proposal of the European Lamp Companies Federation, ELCFED. Claiming other multinationals with strong interests in LED production as members, including GE and Philips, ELCFED is squarely behind the slower phase-out plan.

As well as banning incandescents, the EU proposal advocates removal of halogen lamps from the market. The scenario with the highest potential level of energy savings "“ 78 TWh/year, estimated as equivalent to 34 Mt of carbon dioxide emissions annually "“ suggests banning all halogens, as well as the least efficient compact fluorescent lamps.

At the other end of the spectrum, LED-based luminaires are highlighted in the EU s most efficient category, which demands 111 lm/W efficiency from a 700 lm lamp. This is perhaps somewhat optimistic, however, as even the winners of the US Department of Energy's 2008 Lighting for Tomorrow solid-state lighting prize achieved just 72 lm/W efficiency at best.

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