Saturday, Oct 11, 2008
The high energy filament bulbs are being phased out in order to improve energy efficiency and meet climate change targets.
The switchover, which will affect all of the European Union’s 500 million citizens, was first ordered at a Brussels summit last year as part of an ambitious energy policy to fight climate change.
A meeting of EU energy ministers, including the UK’s new secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Miliband decided to go ahead with the ban.
The move has previously proved controversial.
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Traditional light bulbs are around 38p compared to £1.38 for the cheapest low energy models and campaigners have complained about affordability, as well as the cost of having to adapt fittings for the new bulbs.
The fluorescent bulbs generally take time to warm up and there have been complaints the light is too dim and has a tendency to flicker.
There are also worries over how the bulbs will be disposed of. Under new regulations for hazardous waste, councils are obliged to recycle low energy bulbs at considerable cost to the tax payer.
Incandescent filament light bulbs use up to five times as much energy as efficient lights such as “compact fluorescent lamps” (CFLs).
Advocates claim that replacing the worst-performing lamps with today’s best available technology will reduce domestic energy consumption for lighting by 60 per cent in the EU, equivalent to saving 30 million tons of CO2 pollution every year.
However questions remain over the cost, health impact and aesthetic quality of the new low-energy fluorescent bulbs.
There have been concerns low energy bulbs can cause headaches, rashes and even sunburn. If the bulbs break the toxic mecury inside can cause migraine and dizziness. The bulbs are also too big for some old-fashioned fittings, can look out of place in historic homes and are generally more expensive – although the EU has vowed cost will come down before 2010.
The Health Protection Agency warned consumers they should not stay close to open energy saving bulbs for more than an hour.
This article was posted: Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 4:17 am