The Incandescent Light Bulb Ban in EU

In the continent's latest effort to get people to save energy and combat global warming, starting from September 2009 the European Union is putting restrictions on the sale of incandescent bulbs. The ban is one of a series of measures to support the E.U. goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Everything from televisions to washing machines to tiny motors are being made more energy-efficient. We at Lumitronix are welcoming this great move to make our planet greener!

So what's wrong with the famous Thomas Edison's light bulb, we grew to love over the last century? The main issue is that a great invention in 1900s, incandescent light bulb has now become very inefficient:

  • Only 5 percent of the energy consumed going to light production
  • The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs 5 to 10 times the original purchase price of the bulb itself.
  • Replacing one light bulb with LED will save 70 kgs of carbon per year
  • The energy used for manufacturing an incandescent bulb is almost five times that used producing a LED lamp
  • There has not been much improvement in incandescent efficiency in the last 10 years
  • Accoring to E.U. Officials, the energy savings resulting from the ban of incandescent bulbs would cut average household electricity bills by up to €50 a year, amounting to about €5 billion annually.

E.U. incandescent light bulb ban timeline:

Date Stage
Sept. 2009 Incandescent light bulbs of 100W and above as well as frosted incandescent light blubs phased out
Sept. 2010 60W incandescent blubs phased out
Sept. 2012 40W and 25W incandescent bulb phased out
By the end of 2012 All incandescent light-bulbs phased out
2016 Halogen bulbs phased out, and any bulb available for purchase after the 2016 date must have at least a B energy rating

E.U. countries are not the first to ban incandescent light bulbs:

  • Brazil and Venezuela started to phase them out in 2005
  • Australia has already introduced a ban
  • Cuba has entirely shifted to compact fluorescent bulbs
  • And other nations are planning scheduled phase-outs: Argentina, Russia and Canada in 2012 and the USA between 2012 and 2014


With the upcoming ban on incandescent light bulbs, the most viable alternatives are Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and Light-emitting diode lamps (LEDs).

While CFL are generally cheaper than LEDs, most people complain about drab color, long start up times in cold weather. The flickering light of the CFLs could trigger migraines or epilepsy seizures. The ecologist groups are also pointing out that CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin, and that manufacturers, retailers, and governments haven't come up with effective ways to recycle them. These are just some of the many reasons consumers are quickly finding CFLs are not a long term solution. The E.U. Commission expects that light emitting diode (LED) lamps, which are still in the early stages of commercialisation, will become real energy-saving alternatives in the future.

Benefits of LED lightbulbs

  • Long-lasting

    LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents, and far longer than typical incandescents.

  • Durable

    Since LEDs do not have a filament, they are not damaged under circumstances when a regular incandescent bulb would be broken. Because they are solid, LED bulbs hold up well to jarring and bumping.

  • Cool

    These bulbs do not cause heat build-up; LEDs produce 3.4 btu's/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs. This also cuts down on air conditioning costs in the home.

  • Mercury-free

    No mercury is used in the manufacturing of LEDs.

  • More efficient

    LED light bulbs use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3rd to 1/30th of Incandescent or CFL) Small LED flashlight bulbs will extend life 10 to 15 times longer than with incandescent bulbs.

  • Cost-effective

    Although LEDs are expensive, the cost is recouped over time and in battery savings. For the AC bulbs and large cluster arrays, the best value comes from commercial use where maintenance and replacement costs are expensive.

  • Light for remote areas

    Because of the low power requirement for LEDs, using solar panels becomes more practical and less expensive than running an electric line or using a generator for lighting.

  • No CFL limitations

    LED lightbulbs are apable of on/off cycling, compatible with dimmers and offer other features unavailable for CFLs.

  • No Flickering, No Headaches

    LED lightbulbs light is instant and stable, it's safe for people with susceptibility to migraine and epilepsy.

  • Easy disposal

    LED lightbulbs can be easily disposed of and do not contaminate our planet.

Green light for LEDs

So, if you want a bulb that's going to last for extended periods between replacements, you'll want to go with the LED. The bulb features a lifespan of 60,000 hours versus the CFL's 10,000 hours and the incandescent bulb's 1,500 hours. Considering the bulb's low energy expenditure, the cost (over its 60,000-hour lifespan) is significantly lower than either of the other bulbs. Simply put, in EU which is an area that has high energy costs, the LED bulb is for you.

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Created at
September 24, 2017 5:40:04 AM UTC