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Europe defers halogen lamp ban until 2018

21st May 2015

As part of the drive to eliminate older, more inefficient lamps from the EU market, the standard pear-shaped 'GLS' halogen lamp was due to be withdrawn from European markets by 2016. However, the EC has now voted to delay the phase-out until 2018, as James Hunt of Voltimum reports:


A typical halogen lamp bulb - light sources like this will not now be banned for sale in the EU until 2018.


The EC has given halogen lamp bulbs, which are the last real bastion of the ancient, highly inefficient and now banned incandescent technology, an extra two years, until September 2018.


Halogen lamps are only slightly more efficient than conventional filament bulbs and are highly inefficient compared with the best modern LED and compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps. This is why in 2009 the EC scheduled them for a September 2016 retirement. It is this that has now been deferred two years.


Traditional incandescent lamp bulbs are already banned from sale within the EU, but the next stage of the phase-out (stage six) originally required all bulbs to be energy-efficiency class B by September 2016 to be eligible for sale in the EU. 


If implemented, this would have effectively removed all halogen type lamp bulbs from the market. Apart from a few special types that would be excluded from the ban, this would have effectively left only compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LED types for legal sale within the EU.


LightingEurope (www.lightingeurope.org), representing leading European lighting manufacturers, national lighting associations and companies producing materials, had originally lobbied the EU to postpone the halogen phase-out until 2020, which would give the LED lighting industry greater time to develop more affordable replacements for halogen lamps. 


LightingEurope did this because it had claimed that the quality, performance and price of LED lamps would not be ready to meet mass consumer demand until 2020. However, the EC says that the 2018 deadline is an acceptable compromise.


Commented LightingEurope’s Secretary General, Diederik de Stoppelaar: “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 understand is that alternative developing technologies take time to be fully realised - and then to subsequently be widely available on the market,” he said.


LightingEurope's has its critics. Some in the industry say that LEDs from reputable manufacturers already meet the required criteria and are so much more energy efficient than halogen (not to mention having other positive attributes) that the argument of LightingEurope and its big lighting company members is simply incorrect. This is believed to be the view of Megaman, among others.


There will certainly be job losses associated with a halogen phase-out, and some say that certain big firms are trying to hold onto their old 'replacement bulb' business model for as long as possible while transitioning to LEDs. 


Whatever the truth of this, the EC seems deficient in its logic in at least one important respect – highly efficient, long-lived and reliable LED lamps are already here, if not quite at the price point that would be otherwise desirable. So, if older, more inefficient lamps are being banned for ecological reasons, why defer the ban on wasteful halogen lamp bulbs? 

Typically, halogen lamps – which are only a lowly energy efficiency class ‘D’ - use merely around 10% less energy than grossly inefficient incandescents, while CFLs use 60% - 80% less. Lamps having LED light sources use up to 90% less energy than incandescents (and last far longer, all the while now providing excellent light).


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