Halogen ban: Just do it. The sequel

Our recent two-part series debating the European Union's upcoming halogen bulb ban struck a contentious chord, racking up page views and comments from readers polarised over whether the EU should stick with its plan to outlaw the sale of halogens beginning in September 2016.

Voices from the conventional industry led by trade association LightingEurope oppose the 2016 date. They want to delay a ban it until 2020, claiming, ironically, that the LEDs they promote as the hear-and-now of lighting's future aren't ready for prime time mass markets.

Newer LED-only companies like Neonlite vociferously want to stick with 2016. They say that LEDs are ready, noting that by providing impressive energy saving, LEDs will play a vital role in the world's carbon reduction efforts. LEDs are around 70 or 80 percent more efficient than halogens, which are only a slightly more efficient version of the incandescent bulb. They are the next incandescent in line for a ban by the carbon reductio motivated EU.

Now another voice has weighed supporting 2016: US lighting controls firm Lutron. Perhaps Lutron saw enough when the popular British tabloid the Daily Mail penned a story earlier this month warning that the ban 'could consequently cause enormous inconvenience.'

The piece raised a lot hackles. Soon after it ran, Lutron's Sam Woodward, customer education leader for the company's Europe and Africa region, dashed off a note to us underscoring that any delay would be just 'deferring the inevitable.'

Pointing out that the EU has a legally binding mandate to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, Woodward noted:


  • 'With the 2020 targetof improving energy efficiency by 20 per cent, energy savings are top of mind for consumers and businesses. In light of the news that the sale of halogen lamps could be banned next year to meet the EU’s energy saving drive, it is clear the industry needs to accelerate our drive towards alternative energy-saving lighting technologies such as LEDs...Calls to delay the ban are deferring the inevitable. As an industry, we need to work together to ensure that we are all working towards the same goal. Lighting technology needs to bridge the gap between the population’s increasing energy demands and keeping a low carbon footprint.'


Woodward would say all that. His company, Lutron, specialises in selling lighting controls to maximise the energy saving potential of LEDs. As digital products (LEDs are semiconductors), LEDs lend themselves to networks that can turn them on or or adjust their brightness as needed.

'Simply converting to LED is just part of the story: efficient electronics and adding automatic controls (to switch the lamps off when they are not needed) can further optimise energy efficiency,' Woodward said. 'The most efficient light-source, of any type, is one which is switched off when it does not actually need to be on!'

Vested interest or not, Woodward makes a good point.

But his is not the last word on the subject. The European Commission is expected to vote on the ban next month.

Have something to say about it? Feel free to sound off in our new comments section below.


Photo is from Olivier Le Moal via Shutterstock

Comments 2

I've just replaced 2 energy saving lamps in my sitting room with a couple of 60 GLS lamps. I use energy saving everywhere else. I love the retro colour of the light, I love the way the colours suddenly look relaxed, not like the source is trying to twist them into something they are not. A slight greenness has gone. I don't mind if it breaks because no where does it claim it last for long, nor does it cost a lot, 60p. Efficiency? I've come across several LED fixtures that are no more efficient recently. Also in terms of what I can actually see 120w of Tungsten does at least as well as 50w of energy savers. Carbon? Well I rarely fly and the lamps are on max 4 hours a day, I'll turn off the radiator in the loo or make sure my computer is only on when I need it. I don't think I'm unusual.........so why are we so intent on a ban?

The clear non directional lamp report is fascinating and is worth spending some time to read for all peoples involved not only in lighting, but also in command. If it adress mainly the question of efficiency, in a very clear way, some issues are still pending : - the control of the load : if phase cut dimming is evocated , with 5 dimmable lamps being tested, it forget to explain that compatibility issues are still seriously discussed at standardization level, and browsing at fast pace in end users' forum dedicated to LED lamps and command compatibility shows that there is no clear answer as for today for legacy electronic switches on which LED bulbs could replace GLS or halogen lamp - how does it comes that efficiency differs so greatly for a supposedly mastered technology with efficiency ranging from 60 lm/W to 130 lm/W? - many other issues, like grid and EMC disturbances by LED loads are left aside : what consequences will we have to face when harmonic disturbances level will reach levels never expected before ? So, halogen lamp is probably not the best lamp when it comes to energy efficiency, but it is still a reliable solution to be used on an instalation featuring just more than push buttons, and moreover, it does not fill the bin of DIY shop as some cfli that claimed a 15+ lifespan do

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