If you are one of our many buyers of halogen light bulbs here at Easy Light Bulbs, we have some news that could be both good and bad for you: they may cease to be available as soon as 2016, as part of the EU’s continuing energy-saving efforts. That could be a positive thing for the environment, but it could be hugely inconvenient for you as a light bulb customer.
It’s just the latest round of a drive to cut greenhouse emissions across the continent that has already seen the end to production of traditional incandescent bulbs, and as you might expect, there has been a mixed reaction from various consumer and manufacturer groups. There are millions of halogen bulbs presently in use in British homes, particularly for kitchen and bathroom spotlights, and while there are alternatives, these aren’t as affordable to buy upfront as halogens.
On one level, it makes sense for the European Commission to bring the axe down on halogen bulbs, given that they aren’t much more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. That has led to the EU’s suggestion that they are replaced with energy-saving LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs, the latter also known as CFLs.
But not only can the alternatives be up to 15 times more expensive to purchase, there are certain other issues with each one – such as LEDs’ incompatibility with the dimmer switches and wiring circuits that halogen bulbs use, as well as the up to five minutes that are required for CFLs to reach full brightness. An EC vote will be held on the issue in April, with the options including to proceed with a 2016 ban or instead delay it to 2018.
Consumer group Which? said that with half of its members still having halogen bulbs in their home and more than two in five having halogen spotlights, a delay until 2018 would allow more time for the resolution of some of the user and compatibility problems. A campaign group of manufacturers, LightingEurope, went even further, suggesting that the potential impact on consumers and the industry necessitated a delay of any such ban until 2020 at the earliest.
On the flipside, however, the alternatives to halogen bulbs do last longer and could make a big positive difference to a customer’s longer-term energy bills. Indeed, you may wish to make the change now to experience the massive difference for yourself. There have also been suggestions that keeping to the 2016 deadline will minimise or eliminate the risk of blackouts resulting from the closure of old power stations.
We’ll watch this story carefully here at Easy Light Bulbs, and will keep you posted on the latest developments.