While we’ve already seen the EU phase out energy guzzling traditional incandescent bulbs, the time is now coming for a decision on the end of not-so-eco halogens. The question is, when?
The Member States of the EU will vote on whether to go ahead with the proposed 2016 ban of all bulbs with an energy classification of C or lower, which will effectively ban halogen bulbs, or delay the phase-out until 2018.
The reasons for the debate are simple enough. There are concerns over the price and quality of the bulbs that would remain on sale.
In a show of the European Commission’s willingness to compromise and remain flexible on eco-regulations the proposed delay was suggested by the Commission themselves.
Energy saving light bulbs
The aim of the long-running programme is to ensure all bulbs available in the EU have at least an energy efficiency class B rating. That means halogen bulbs wouldn’t be up to scratch, only using about 10% less energy than an old-style bulb. This would leave the market with only CFLs, using 60%-80% less energy than incandescents, and LEDs, using 90% less.
While the next stage of the programme will undoubtedly save huge amounts of energy for Europe, it may raise a few concerns if your house is lit with halogen bulbs.
In our survey of more than 1,000 Which? members, half told us they still have halogen bulbs and more than two in five have halogen spotlights. However, Chris from our previous light bulb Convo was pleased when he made the switch:
‘I replaced 14 halogen bulbs (50W GU10) a year ago with the LED equivalent. They have always been perfectly reliable and just as bright as the halogen originals […] Any lamps that I buy from now on will definitely be LED.’
What would be left on the market?
How will the halogen phase-out affect you? While you can get a Best Buy LED for less than £5, it’s still a large jump from the cost of a halogen bulb. Although, it’s worth noting a LED’s lifespan will stretch far beyond that of any halogen so there’s still be money to be saved.
Then there are the issues of compatibility. LED and CFL bulb technology still isn’t up there with that of halogens in some key areas. You may find issues with compatibility with existing circuits and dimmer switches. And the warm up time of some CFL bulbs mean you may spend the first few minutes in the dark, even though you switched the lights on. Plus the colour rendering of LED bulbs can still leave a little to be desired.
Do you think the EU commission should hold off until 2018? Or is bulb technology ready for a 2016 ban of halogen bulbs? If you use halogen bulbs, are you now going to invest to get them replaced?