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Regulation cannot dim LEDs

Are Ecodesign lighting performance standards a recipe for wholesale profit or confusion?

Jessica Parker is the Marketing Manager at TCP in the UK

This is a very exciting time for the lighting industry. For 100 years the incandescent light bulb ruled the world, but in the last few years we’ve seen an explosion of energy efficient products coming onto the market, first with CFLs and most recently with an array of LED products being produced.

However, with so many new products being introduced at a rapid pace, regulators are now understandably introducing standards to ensure that bulbs are of sufficiently good quality for consumers.

New European performance standards for lighting, known as Ecodesign, are helping to push the lighting industry forward, and will over the next few years take the inefficient and poor quality lighting products off the shelves. However, it is also a time when we need to stop and think about the impact that this rapid period of change might be having on wholesalers.

With DIM1 and DIM2 legislation affecting LED, CFL, halogen and incandescent lighting over the next few years, wholesalers are faced with the daunting prospect of having to make sense of the sea of legislation coming into force.

Even for people in the industry, the changes can seem bewildering. This September marks the death knell for the 40W and 25W incandescent bulb in the UK, and DIM1 will see increased performance requirements coming into force for CFLs and halogens next year, with further regulations for the latter in 2016.

Directional and non-directional LED products will also have to adhere to new requirements from late 2013, and DIM2 regulations will result in further standards coming into force for reflectors in the same year. If all that wasn’t enough, a new energy label will be required for all products in September 2013.

TCP works with a number of lighting wholesalers across the UK and as a sector, they are generally very good at keeping abreast of new regulations and product developments. But, even for those in the industry who live and breathe lighting, it is difficult to keep pace with the Ecodesign regulations. For wholesalers to be able to continue to offer the latest and best products to their customers while all these changes are taking place, they need to fully understand the new performance changes that are taking place.

With most of the new lighting products being manufactured in the Far East, wholesalers also need to be aware of the changes so that they don’t fall foul of one or more of the new Ecodesign performance requirements. They may potentially find that they are unable to order a particular product because it can no longer be sold in Europe. TCP has designed a category management service for the wholesalers and retailers that they work with, giving them guidance and support about the regulations so that they know which of the myriad of new products they should be looking to purchase.

Unfortunately, the lack of performance standards in the past has resulted in a lot of poor quality products flooding the market, and has given energy efficient lighting a bad name. However, the lighting industry is entering the most fascinating period in its history, with lighting innovations taking place at a rapid pace.

By working together, there are tremendous opportunities for manufacturers and wholesalers to prove to retailers that energy efficient lighting can be high quality, attractive, bright and profitable too.

Jessica Parker is the Marketing Manager at TCP in the UK

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