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The bulbs have finally blown...

After months of talk, the EuP Directive came into effect last weekand means that all major manufacturers are ceasing production of 100w incandescent light bulbs and all frosted or pearl bulbs. Recent months have been marked with yet another surge in new lighting technology, such as LED bulbs that can screw directly into old-style fittings and improved LED colour quality, but is the market ready to lose such long established products?

As with most EU directives which seek to put an end to something we have become very used to, there has been a certain amount of nostalgic backlash. Unsurprisingly, the Daily Mail launched a campaign to save the incandescent bulb from the EU’s tyranny, giving away 5,000 sets of energy-thirsty units to their readers.

Not to be outdone, a member of the public has launched a Facebook group named ‘I Hate Energy Saving Lightbulbs’ which has given the creator a platform to discuss how much she disapproves of the light quality emitted by CFLs. The group currently has 100 members, which I suppose is a fair number when considering the amount of time the average person spends thinking about lightbulbs.

It would be wrong to suggest that people have no grounds whatsoever for their concerns, but I would question whether their negative experiences were with recent examples of low energy lighting equipment. I think most people will remember the first wave of products that hit the market with their rather ‘muted’ output. But times have changed, and time has seemingly been on fast forward in the lighting market with new and genuinely innovative products hitting the shelves almost weekly.

Only last month I moved into a new flat which had an incandescent 100w bulb in each of the rooms which I replaced with a CFL (company of origin to remain nameless). The difference in light quality is negligible and even if there is a slight lack of warmth to the glow, it’s easily made up for by the knowledge you are contributing to a reduction in your fuel bills.

Ceasing production of 100w, followed shortly by 75w bulbs I believe is a very positive step forward for the electrical industry and the public. A genuine win-win situation. But perhaps more needs to be done to promote the qualities of modern low energy bulbs, as the quicker people adopt the technology the better for everyone.

Enjoy the newsletter,

Richard Scott
01732 359990

Your Comments:


On the subject of certain light bulbs being withdrawn from manufacture this year. As an electrician I have known about this for some time and also quite a lot of my customers are also aware of this move.

But the current trend that I have found is: customers have started to replace the centre pendant light in rooms that would have had a 100watt bulb fitted, only to be replaced with combinations of four six or even nine recessed 50watt Low voltage Halogen reflector bulbs in that room (Halogen bulbs in this instance are not energy efficient).

Customers are quite happy to replace 100watt bulbs with fittings that consume 200watts, 300watts and 450watts as an alternative light source and are also happy to pay the extra electricity that these light bulbs consume.

I have also fitted low energy and LED fittings to many properties over the last five years or so. But also in some cases I have been requested to replace the above LED fittings with the better light output low voltage Halogen bulbs.

The situation at the moment is that low energy fluorescent bulbs are slow to obtain their full brightness and are expensive to install, LEDs are very expensive to install. And unless very expensive LED bulbs are used in the region of £50.00 per bulb the light output of an LED bulb is not comparable with a HALOGEN low voltage bulbs

At the end of it all the Customer looks at the initial install price and not necessary at the long term cost that they can save in the long run

Chris Shearn

S.E.I.C Electrical 



I work on a Refinery and a significant part of our emergency lighting systems use incandescent bulbs in bulkhead type fittings for emergency lights. These have worked very well over the last 30+ years, however with the expected unavailability of incandescent bulbs we have a problem

As the lamps are located on the refinery they are certified for use in hazardous areas, but are certified for use with incandescent bulbs, as they were all fitted before any one had considered CFL's they are not certified for their use

So we are left in a bit of a dilemma.

Do we accept the new technology, CFLs & LEDs and fit them and then self certify the units for use with these devices or do we replace the existing bulkhead type fittings and replace them with new units?

Neither option seems a good solution, as we are neither designers / manufacturers of the new lamps then we can not truly understand whether there is a risk of them igniting a flammable atmosphere, we can do general tests and can see they run much cooler than the incandescent lamps, but do the have electronic components that could create a spark?

Alternatively to replace over 2000 bulkhead fittings which are in good condition just because the EU has decided that we should use energy savings lamps seems like we are missing the point
If we are trying to save energy should we not look at life cycle costs, from manufacture to disposal - not just how much it costs to run

Either way I don't think there is a good solution but I thought I would let you have an alternative view point

PS as these are emergency lights you can't make the argument that it is saving energy by having CFL's as they are only there for if the power fails, so are rarely used, so any actual power saving costs are going to be negligible in the real world

Stuart Gregory
Electrical Engineer
ConocoPhillips, Humber Refinery

Ed - Apologies for not stating this in my comment piece, but my understanding about the Directive is that the phase out is aimed at incandescent bulbs designed for residential use, and not commercial/industrial applications. I will of course check this!



Following  your article in the current  newsletter   on the withdrawn  on 100w bulbs, perhaps you could  follow this up with  a  listing  on bulbs due to be withdrawn including when and a replacement for them.

An  example is 300w/500w R7 halogen lamps,  I believe are due  to be removed but what is the way  forward ? Is  there a lamp replacement for  the  fittings  or   does  it  mean  new  fitting   required  to  replace  the  spotlights  that use  them.

I also believe  industrial sodium and metal  halide lamps are involved  too  but cant find any info.


Ed - I'm on the case now, Colin!

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