Halogen lightbulb ban to take effect

Halogen lightbulbs are to be phased off shop shelves from this weekend as part of an EU-wide effort to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions.
A halogen bulbA halogen bulb
A halogen bulb

From September 1, retailers will no longer be allowed to replace stocks of the lightbulbs, which use considerably more energy than alternatives such as LEDs or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.

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The halogen lightbulb ban starts this weekend. Here's what you need to know

The move is the final stage of an EU directive that has progressively banned less efficient light sources starting with traditional incandescent light bulbs in 2009 and halogen GU10 spotlight bulbs in 2016.

An LED bulbAn LED bulb
An LED bulb
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The last phase bans non-directional halogen bulbs, including standard pear or candle shaped lamps.

Halogen bulbs have stayed on the market until now because manufacturers argued that LEDs were not yet a viable replacement due to higher upfront costs, particularly for the brighter 60W to 100W-equivalent bulbs.

Some specialist bulbs such as those used in some ovens and cooker hoods are exempt from the ban because LED or other alternatives are not available or viable.

A government study found that UK homes have an average of 34 lights, with 10 of them (31%) being halogen.

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The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the typical halogen uses £11 of electricity a year while a replacement LED would only cost around £2 to use, and a halogen is likely to last for 2,000 hours compared with an LED's 25,000 hours.

Stewart Muir, of the Energy Saving Trust, said: "Halogen bulbs are now quite an old technology. They were first patented for commercial use in 1959, so they've been showing their age for a while - mostly by inflating your energy bill.

"LED bulbs' running costs are a fraction of halogens' and they last a lot longer too, so making the move to the newer technology is an easy decision even before the ban comes into force."

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Doug Parr said: "Recent heatwaves and floods have clearly illustrated the reality of climate change and it's now more urgent than ever to cut unnecessary fossil fuel energy use.

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"Shifting away from wasteful halogens and creating a new market for cleaner, more efficient LED lightbulbs, saving people money in the process, was a valuable role of the EU in driving up environmental standards. We would expect any post-Brexit regime to do the same in UK."

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said: "Until we leave the EU, the UK Government continues to implement European regulations.

"LED lightbulbs tend to be more energy efficient than conventional lightbulbs, which means that when combined with other energy efficiency measures, households will save around £100 on their annual energy bills from 2020."

Steve Wrapson, head of product marketing at Signify UK & Ireland - the manufacturer of Philips LED, said: "The gradual ban on halogen bulbs demonstrates a Europe-wide commitment to energy saving and reducing our carbon footprint.

"Not only does this present an opportunity for households to benefit from reduced energy bills, it introduces consumers to the array of colour, quality and design options when switching to LED."