Energy transition in Europe includes removing energy-gobbling halogen spotlights

There have been many important improvements in our lighting systems in recent years. Now, as explained by Arthur Neslen in The Guardian, new European ruling bans any new orders on GU10 spotlights and PAR30 floodlights, which can waste up to 10 times more energy than LEDs


Halogen spotlights to be phased out across Europe

Energy-gobbling halogen spotlights will be phased out across Europe from Thursday, in a boost for super-efficient LEDs ahead of a wider halogen bulb ban in 2018.

Directional halogen bulbs already in stores can still be sold after today but no new retailer orders will be possible for the spotlights, which can waste up to 10 times more energy than LEDs.

First hit by the ban will be GU10 halogen spotlights and PAR30 halogen floodlights (big reflector lamps). Bulbs with an energy label rating of B or above, such as low-voltage halogen spotlights, will not be affected.

Which? magazine last month advised its readers to switch to LEDs, which can cut lighting electricity bills by up to 90%, according to the coolproducts efficiency campaign.

“With bulb purchase costs included, British homes on the average tariff will pay £126 per socket over a 10-year period for halogen lights, compared to £16 for LEDs,” said Jack Hunter, a coolproducts spokesman.

The European commission also sees lightbulb efficiency rules as a no-brainer, arguing that EU standards across all product ranges will save the average consumer €465 a year on energy bills by 2020.

It will also rein in greenhouse gas emissions, as lighting accounts for about as much power use as the residential electricity consumption of the UK, France, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands combined.

But lightbulb efficiency has become a touchstone for eurosceptics, with the Daily Mail last year campaigning over the issue and the rightwing commentator James Delingpole declaring himself “incandescent with rage” at the prospect of a halogen ban.

While the new EU benchmarks could be replaced by UK-only rules after Brexit, this might also force manufacturers to adjust their production lines to meet the differing efficiency standard, with costs passed through to consumers.

Campaigners fear it could also lead to importers deluging Britain with shoddy products that ramp up energy bills.

“The media lampoons EU energy standards, but they are essential for keeping energy bills down,” Hunter said. “As the British economy has grown over the last decade, energy consumption has actually dropped, in large part because EU rules have forced firms to invent more efficient fridges, TVs etc.”

A 50W Osram halogen spotlight for a kitchen or bathroom currently retails at around £1.50 per bulb, considerably cheaper than a £4.99 high quality LED. But the halogen lights also fail so fast that eight are needed to match the lifetime of a single LED spotlight.

LED spotlight prices have fallen by more than 80% in the last five years, according to the market experts, prompting Ikea to remove halogen bulbs from its stores last year.

Los Angeles has now relit all its streets with LEDs, changing the tint of movies set there from yellow to blue, while Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena football stadium and the Sistine chapel have also gone over to LED lighting

In 2013, 154m directional halogen bulbs were sold in Europe, a fifth of the overall 772m halogen bulb market that year.

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