The countdown to the EU halogen ban is on: what does it mean for the lighting industry?

By Holger Engelbrecht, Product Manager, reichelt

The EU halogen ban is less than a month away from coming into force. From 1st September, only remaining stock of halogen bulbs will be sold. Once they’re gone, they’re gone as retailers won’t be able to order in new products. This is part of an EU initiative to become more energy efficient.

While the transition to the more efficient and cost effective LED bulb has begun over recent years (73 percent of UK homes have already fully switched and last year Sainsbury’s became the first British supermarket to switch completely), halogen bulbs are still prevalent but consume a lot of energy. When you think about how many lights are used every day, from offices to homes and gardens, for parties or a night in front of the TV, lights are used so frequently every day they can often be taken for granted.

But, the EU is imposing changes to help reduce this vast use of energy by banning halogen bulbs in favour of the more efficient and eco-friendly LED bulb. To avoid getting caught out, the transition should begin sooner rather than later, starting with priority areas that need effective and efficient lighting.

For those in the industry, there is a responsibility to inform customers who may not know that they won’t be able to buy replacement halogen bulbs for much longer or what the alternative options available are.

Why make the switch?

LED lights provide the perfect opportunity to reduce costs and save energy, whilst providing adequate luminosity. An LED bulb can easily compete with a halogen lamp in terms of luminosity and requires less maintenance.

Maintaining good lighting in the workplace or the home is extremely important and shouldn’t be underestimated. Research by reichelt found that 64 percent of employees in the UK say good lighting is very important, with 89 percent of companies actively ensuring that lighting is suitable for their employees in the workplace.

Light quality is also more versatile with LEDs, making it suitable for use in a variety of space for a multitude of purposes. Available in numerous shapes and sizes, choosing the right type of LED that produces an appropriate colour and tone of light is crucial. For example, productivity levels and people’s moods can be impacted. There’s also the more obvious requirement for the light to adequately illuminate the space so you are able to see what you are doing.

Become more energy efficient

LED technology is the most efficient light source on the market. To compare, LEDs save up to 90 percent of energy compared to filament bulbs and a halogen lamp can use as much as 10 times the amount of energy an LED lamp uses.

Thanks to the “EU Energy Efficiency” label, launched on September 1st 2013, customers can easily identify how much power each light bulb uses to make informed choices, ensuring their personal energy efficiency needs are met.

Costs vs savings

High-pricing has historically been a barrier for many when considering switching light sources, but technology advancements over recent years have made LED bulbs much more affordable. In the US, for example, the cost of LED bulbs fell by 94 percent between 2008 and 2015.

Furthermore, the long-term cost savings vastly outweigh the upfront costs. LEDs boast an impressive lifespan: approximately 50,000 hours compared to filament bulbs lasting just 1,000 hours and energy saving bulbs which last 6000 to 15,000 hours. The lengthy life cycle means bulbs need replacing less frequently, therefore reducing the amount of money needed to buy replacement bulbs. A halogen lamp may be cheaper initially, but it could take several bulbs to exceed the lifespan of just one LED.

Of the UK companies that are currently using LED lighting (49 percent use LEDs in all office areas), 18 percent believe they are saving as much as 21-30 percent since switching from conventional lighting, according to reichelt research.

The EU believes the average consumer will save approximately £418 per year on energy bills by 2020 thanks to this light bulb efficiency initiative.

Top tips to make the switch to LED:

  • Check the bulbs’ energy efficiency: Look out for the “EU Energy Efficiency” label to see how much power each light bulb uses.
  • Choose the right switching cycle: For daytime light sources used frequently in places such as corridors, you should consider an LED with a high switching cycle LED, e.g. one with a value between 50,000 and 100,000.
  • Check flux: Ensure the LED bulb emits more light flux than a comparable incandescent light bulb.
  • Ask where? Consider where the light bulb is being used when deciding which colour light to buy
    • For the office, a light bulb of 4,000 to 6,500 Kelvin is recommended.
    • For a workshop, garage or outside space LED products of 6,000 to 7,000 Kelvin are recommended.
    • Office spaces or work areas often use a neutral white light in a range of between 3,300 and 5,000 Kelvin.
  • Check colour spectrums: When choosing a light bulb with warm light, you should ensure that the colour spectrum has a high proportion of red. In contrast, a cool light should have high blue content.
  • Switch early: Start enjoying the benefits sooner.

Taking these points into consideration, businesses and consumers can benefit from reduced energy bills and enjoy versatile lighting with a significantly longer life span. The EU halogen is a positive step to become more energy efficient. Only by switching sooner rather than later will organisations and homeowners be able to achieve the best return on their investment and avoid any issues with replacement bulbs.

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