They’ve been lighting European streets and houses for 60 years, and quietly adding unnecessary energy costs which are the equivalent to Portugal’s annual electricity consumption. Finally, Europe has issued halogen bulbs with their overdue eviction notice.
In 2009, EU member states voted to phase-out the halogen bulb due to its inefficiency and D-class energy rating. Halogen bulbs, not including directional halogen lamps or flood lights, were to be replaced with light emitting diodes (LEDs) which are environmentally cleaner and result in fewer CO2 emissions.
However, the costs of LED bulbs deterred the phase-out from happening in 2009. Almost ten years later, and the ban is finally scheduled for the 1st of September, 2018. In the time between, LED prices have dropped dramatically, with the price of a popular LED spotlight falling 80 per cent.
The ban on September 1st will mean that halogen lightbulbs will no longer be on the market across Europe. The average household in the UK has 10 halogen lightbulbs, and, thankfully, there is no fine for those still lighting their houses with halogen bulbs after the 1st of September. Instead, households are encouraged to wait until their lightbulbs expire before switching to LED. Shops are allowed to sell their existing stock but will not be able to purchase more – allowing those fearful of taking the LED plunge to stock up.
The average LED still costs considerably more than the average halogen bulb. Ikea is currently pricing their LED lamp bulb at £7, which is causing many to flinch at the upcoming ban. However, the energy and monetary gains are hugely profitable in the long term. Ikea promises a 20 year life span on their LED bulb, compared to a halogen bulb with a life span of around two years. It’s estimated that, after the switch to LED, customer savings will be as much as £112.
Europe is by no means the first to crack down on halogen bulbs. In 2014, filmmakers were perturbed by Los Angeles’ choice to change the city’s iconic yellow halogen street lighting to blue tinted LEDs. The LED bulb’s benefits in the long-term, for both household owners and the planet, are difficult to deny.
Yet, as Brexit draws ever-closer, many are questioning whether the ban will remain in place for the UK once it splits from the EU. With several politicians viewing the ban as oppressive, there may be a backlash once the UK is responsible for its own lightbulb management. For the sake of the planet, the reduction of energy costs will overshadow the sentimental value of the costly yellow glow of the halogen lightbulb.
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