UAE bans inefficient bulbs

The Middle East has joined the global bulb ban, as new regulations are introduced in the UAE. 

Inefficient bulbs will be banned under the new lighting regulation drafted by the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (Esma). The draft is currently awaiting cabinet approval. It covers all aspects of lighting, from efficiency ratings to energy specifications, as well as recycling and safe disposal of bulbs and other equipment. 

'We have drafted a birth to death system that will make sure all light bulbs entering the country are safe and efficient. The draft is with the cabinet ministers at the moment and is expected to be ratified by next month,' Mohammad Al Mulla, director of metrology at Esma, told Gulf News. Once approved, all market players will have six months to phase out inefficient lighting products. 

All CFL, LED and halogen bulbs will need approval under the new rule, with specifications of these units revised and updated every three years. Wattages and mercury content of each bulb will be regulated. This means high-mercury CFLs will be banned from market. 

Currently, around 85 million lamps are used in UAE's residential sector alone; 50 per cent of which are incandescent. With the new law coming into effect next year, around half of these will have to be replaced. 

Once fully implemented, the new law is expected to save 2,000gW a year. An estimated US$272.3 million (€197.2 million) in electricity bills. Government agencies are expected to save around US$190.6 million (€138 million) in electricity bills annually. 

The lighting regulation is part of Esma's mission to regulate all electric appliances entering the UAE. Efficiency standards have also been set for air-conditioners, fridges and washing machines. There is also already a law regulating electric plugs, with only three-pin plugs allowed.