back to article Brussels: Old-school lightbulbs to be gone by 2012

The European Commission has adopted new regulations which will see ordinary incandescent lightbulbs phased out across Europe. Users will be able to choose in future from fluorescent lamps, including energy-saving "bulbs", and more-efficient halogen incandescents. "These groundbreaking measures respond to the request of the …


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  1. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Decisions decisions

    3% of the 7th (8th?) largest economy on the planet is probably the size of a couple of UK standard size power stations.

    OTOH given the likely level of breakage how much Mercury will be dumped into people's homes? Bearing in mind its quite effective as a brain poision even in small doses.

    Cautious welcome only.

  2. Sir Runcible Spoon

    Interfering bastards

    So, I have to get listed building permission for every little change to my house, but some Eurocrat can effectively make it impossible for me to use candle bulbs in the very expensive wall lights I have.

    The new types of bulb don't look nice, and just help to make a period cottage feel like a hospital waiting room - they're useless.

    I have rights you know! (Anyone know how to make light bulbs on the cheap?)

  3. John

    LED ftw

    I want LEDs. CFLs in comparison to LEDs take far too many resources to produce and contain mercury.

  4. Tom
    Thumb Down

    Energy or Electricity?

    It will save electricity equal to a trifle more than 20% of the UK's electricity consumption.

  5. Lottie

    Lava Lamp

    So does this mean that my lava lamp that relies on the light AND heat of the bulb will be obsolete?

  6. Wize

    Its a shame energy saving bulbs don't work as a replacement.

    The energy savers sold in the high street don't work with dimmers and take a while to get to full brightness from cold. Mix that in with the headaches some get from them and they are not really fit for purpose.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not good news

    This is not good news for those with Photosensitive epilepsy as the flicker rate of the fluorescent lamp can cause fits

  8. Dave Stevenson
    Thumb Down

    And what about those with reflector bulbs and/or dimmers?

    Great, so anyone with reflector bulbs is now expected to pay over £10 per bulb, compared to about 50p. They better be incredibly efficient if I'm to save £9.50 in electricity over the life time of the bulb (I guess it may be a bit less as the bulb life is meant to be longer).

    And so few of the low energy bulbs can be dimmed, so anyone with dimmers is forced to buy the more expensive versions.

    Cheers Brussels - I'm off to stock up on spare bulbs.

  9. Wortel



    According to the Commission:

    "Households will still have the choice between long-life compact fluorescent lamps that currently yield the highest energy savings (up to 75% less energy than incandescent lamps), or efficient incandescent lamps (of the halogen type) fully equivalent to conventional bulbs in terms of light quality, providing between 25% and 50% energy savings."

    "Depending on the number of lamps installed, an average household switching from conventional bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps could make net savings (taking into account higher purchasing price of the lamps) between 25 and 50 € a year on their electricity bill."


    Where the 'Commission' fails to take into account these so called 'long-life' fluorescents are so badly manufactured (yet sold at higher price than value) that they break quicker than normal incandescent bulbs, can flicker incessantly, and have a nasty habit of requiring a warming up of a minute or two on average before reaching their most efficient output stage.

    Higher breakage numbers causes higher demand for replacements, causing the landfill to, well, fill quicker. Efficient right? everybody except the consumer happy.

    Mine's the flame proof one with the wide spectrum LED floodlights in the pockets.

  10. Sleepy
    Thumb Down


    So, tonnes of dimmers and fittings that won't take CFLs to landfill.

  11. Mark Haven

    Light Quality & Energy Savings

    The argument on energy savings of CFL's has been comprehensively rubbished. They simply don't save anything like the energy claimed due to the principle of reactive load rather than resistive load. The savings quoted are based on a lamp being left on constantly - this almost never happens in real settings. When you switch them on and off each time the reactive load uses a lot of energy. In addition, if you heat your home as opposed to cooling it, any energy saved from CFL's is further undermined because your boiler will simply have to work harder to compensate for the heat previously produced by your lighting.

    When you factor in the enormous environmental costs of production and the embodied energy in the components you completely eradicate any saving at all.

    Then we have to consider the hideously cold and unflattering light quality, noticeable flicker, inability to dim or badly dim, mercury pollution in the home from breakages and difficulty of disposal (because of mercury). In addition, the very best and most expensive CFL's only render colours at about 80% efficiency whereas incandescent are almost 100% - this means colours look dull with a prominence of green (the so called "green spike" dominant in all fluorescent sources). There is now masses of evidence that CFL's can worsen migraine and epilepsy in susceptible individuals.

    The whole agenda is being pushed by manufacturers, an ill informed green lobby and corrupt politicians. Why? because a CFL retails at around 10 to 20 times the price of an incandescent. They stand to make a lot of money (billions) from replacement of existing bulbs with CFLs - a manifestly inferior technology. When anyone questions this strategy they and their cronies in government respond with misleading arguments about energy saving.

    So, the truth is, if you want a bulb for a stairwell which is left on 24 hours a day and provides cold, unflattering light - then buy a CFL. Otherwise, stick with incandescents, halogen, LED or any of the many superior technologies available.

  12. Sleepy

    And this too...

    "Eventually, the Trust admitted, the low energy bulbs make little difference to the householder because the lower heat output in cool climates - like ours - means people spend more on heating"

  13. Anonymous Coward

    environmental TCO

    last I heard electricity supply has the potential to be pretty easy on the environment - certainly easier than manufacturing and disposing of these types of bulbs.

    I just wonder about the environmental TCO

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lightbulbs to be gone by 2012?

    Not if the EU goes first.

    (There are _always_ alternatives.)

  15. John Lewis

    Someone please think of the "dimmers"

    So how does my dimmer switch work with this crap new technology ?

    The suggestions I have seen so far involve cobbled together solutions where the bulbs dim to 4 preset settings by pressing the light switch. Nothing like a retrograde step from my very variable dimmer to adjust the light levels depending on how dark it is outside and how bright the DVD / TV picture is for any given show.

    More unnecessary meddling from Brussels - if they are worried about carbon footprints and energy consumption the abolish the EU parliament with all those MEPs jetting in and out and legislate that national governments can only sit for 3 months solid each year then spend the rest of the time sitting "virtually" from their home offices where their constituents can get at them.

    Far better idea than caning the average family for expensive, inferior bulbs that don't work with dimmer switches.

  16. this

    Yes but

    you can't dim the flipping things.

  17. James

    Saving ?

    "The EC estimates that reduced use of electric power for lighting across Europe will save "close to 80" terawatt-hours by the year 2020. That's a trifle less than three per cent of a single year's UK energy consumption."

    By which time, of course, the 3% will have been swamped by another million types of different and almost entirely useless electronic devices...

    ... or we'll have been overrun by the next ice age.....

  18. Anonymous Scotsman


    I for one am going to stockpile these, they're more reliable than a savings account at the moment anyway.

  19. Paul


    If 80 terawatt hours is microscopic I would hate to think what you think is large!

  20. Anonymous Coward


    I keep reading that you shouldn't use CFL bulbs in dimmer switched fittings. Is this still the case? Is there an alternative? The only bulbs in my house that aren't CFLs are in my living room ceiling cluster and I am replacing them every 6-12 months!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Better Lighting

    So we used to have 2x 100W ligh bulbs in our lounge / diner.

    The low power energy-saving bulbs are crap as they are not bright enough to read at night and if you want to set the mood, on dimmers thery are horrible.

    Now to get the same sort of light levels we have 2x fittings with 6x 50w halogen in each.

    I must admit that I've now switch some to 35W.

    So 600w using the halogen option doesn't seem very efficient compaired to our old 200W incandescent option. But hey, that's progress.

  22. A J Stiles
    Thumb Up

    At long last

    The filament light bulb is truly an idea whose time has been and gone; something we will all be better off without.

    Let's hope disposable batteries are next.

  23. Alan

    wait for it...

    cue the mass panic from daily mail readers buying up the non energy efficient bulbs.

  24. Dave

    The whole story?

    How much energy is used to make a CF bulb, and dispose of it in an environmentally-friendly manner at the end of its life? How does that compare to the costs for incandescent bulbs (suitably scaled to allow for different expected lifetimes of the bulbs)?

    A lot of these green ideas turn out to be bad when looked at in more detail, just as with offshore wind turbines, where the carbon cost of making and installing one is huge compared to the amount of energy it can generate over its lifetime.

    Or catalytic converters, which force engines to use more fuel than lean-burn engines...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    How's this for a conspiracy theory:

    A more accurate name for traditional lightbulbs might be 'heatbulbs', since the majority of the energy used by them is given off as heat, rather than light. Whilst this heat is viewed by the folk in brussels as 'wasted' energy, in Northern europe (and indeed most of the continent during winter), the heat given off would go towards warming the home - hardly wasted. Especially since that heat is only generated in the room that is in use, rather than throughout the entire house, as with a central heating system.

    Furthermore, the materials used in the manufacture of old-style lightbulbs (glass, tungsten and argon) are common and fairly harmless chemicals, whereas some of the materials in compact fluorescent bulbs are markedly less pleasant (mercury vapour anyone?) These bulbs are also markedly more expensive (and I suspect, have a higher profit margin).

    So here's your conspiracy: CFLs are being pushed by Brussels because they are being paid by the manufacturers, and also by the gas companies. We could even stretch it to the Russian Mafia, if we want to, since they're (allegedly) the ones supplying the gas after all...

    Anon, 'cos it's a conspiracy.

  26. Adam


    Will they be providing grants to replace all the dimmer switches with updated compatible ones, or would they rather just wait and pay out for all the epileptic fits that will result?

    Why don't they just force... I mean implement this amongst the warmer countries in the EU where this will provide savings on air-con use in summer? In most of the EU, houses are heated for much of the year so any saving on electricity use by energy-savers is balanced by increased gas useage in the boiler.

    Perhaps we should just ban striking in France? That would save a lot of energy and be much better for the EU economy.

  27. blackworx
    Thumb Down

    200W Bulbs

    Time to stock up on those 200W bulbs I love so much. When you need instant short term bright light for a room or cupboard no halogen or bayonet/screw fitting fluoro comes even remotely close.

  28. Ian

    Energy Saving?

    So the new bulbs are more efficient at converting the energy into light because they do not "waste" so much energy in the form of heat. I do not regard that energy as wasted, as without this extra heat my thermostat will fire up the central heating more often offsetting the electricity saved with more gas burned. How green is a CFL? comparing a bit of glass and tin from the old bulbs to the ceramics,plastics and electronics of the CFLs I would say not very. but what do I know as a heretic denier apostate.

  29. g e

    Ban these too...

    Those godawful crappy green-light 'white' flourescent low power bulbs that make everything look like it's been vomited on. Bought a couple for the hallway unwittingly a while ago. Never again will I buy anything made by that co :o(

  30. Stef


    "The new measures "deliver a clear message about the EU's commitment to reach its energy efficiency and climate protection targets," according to Commissioner Piebalgs"

    Yes, a very clear message. The message being "You just know that I have a controlling interest in the 'green' lightbulb business and will be making a fortune out of this latest scam".

    So, will they be throwing away perfectly good working bulbs, or just replacing them when they die?

  31. General A. Annoying

    It'll be a LONG time...

    before Ye Olde Incandescents are gone. People will stock up on them to use in light fittings that simply are not suitable for, or were never designed to be compatible with, CFLs.

    Personally, we have 36% of the fixed lighting in our house still running on Ye Olde Bulbes, simply because the fittings are not suitable for CFLs (either too big to go inside the enclosed glass shade and still give enough light, or on a PIR that's not rated for CFL). the rest run on halogens. If that sort of percentage is repeated across europe, that's a shitload of lighting.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    time to move on

    While there may be many confused opinions with regards to this matter it is time to move on. Many people have been quite tired of the popular but misguided argument that old bulbs give heat and so there would be no energy saving as you would in a cold climate need to add heat to spaces to compensate the loss of heat from the old style bulbs. This is a very confused and limited argument.

    1. When I need light I do not always need heat at that particular time or in that particular space.

    2. Even if I would need heat I would like to be able to control how much, where and when I add it. Lights are by definition placed and constructed with the regulation of light in mind - heat is an a consequence which is not regulated as part of lighting solutions.

    3. Any energy saving effort requires some control and regulation in the home. This is why people have installed light switches - to be able to control when they wish to have the light on. This is also why people have termostats on their radiators - to be able to control the heat in their rooms etc.

    This is what energy management is about. Some nonsense about light giving heat is only relevant if the lightsource was managed as a heat source - well this is not the case by definition. People do not install lights in their homes because they are cold...

    It is time to move on - we in the uk have in this case been dragging our feets for over ten years - as in so many other things - unfortunately.

  33. Trygve Henriksen
    Paris Hilton

    Loads of inaccuracies...

    What these people fails to take into account is that in many places switching to more efficient lightbulbs will result in more energy used for heating.

    This means that the savings will be higest in the summer months(when you don't use as much lights, anyway)

    If they REALLY want to save energy this is not really the way to go.

    (It makes perfect sense in outdoor lighting or cold rooms, though.)

    They should first consider improving the buildings by requiring better insulation, double glazing and so on.

    Estimates here in Norway is that a typical household with a 160square meter one-storey home with a cold attic, built during the 70s, and which has 4" of glass wool insulation in the ceiling, will save enough energy to pay down the cost of adding another 4" of insulation in 2years or less.

    (Building code now specifies 12" of insulation... )

    Replacing old doubleglazing from the same period will also reapy the cost in not too many years. (Many of those panels are no longer sealed, and better glass have also been introduced)

    A 'heat pump' will also give back 3 - 4 times more heat than an oldfashioned panel heater, watt for watt. (Air-to-air models can be installed in just about any home, and Air-to-water can be fitted to houses with a central heating system. )

    Paris, because... well... while she's not exactly the brightest bulb, she's HOT!

  34. Professor Quatermass

    When the lights dim

    So we're doomed to work by guttering candles and shitty CFL bulbs whose wonky illumination throws cold, coloured shadows across my studio. And yum, yum we all love a little more quicksilver loose in the environment.

    Professional Photographers of the World - UNITE!

    When will LED alternatives be in place again? They're the only bulbs worth a damn and that don't give me a headache.

  35. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    And then what

    UK Gov are about 10 years behind the rest of Northern Europe in terms of recycling, if I'm not mistaken these bulbs use a fair old whack of mercury and we chuck them where exactly?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well I'm glad they still allow those halogen lamps. Even though they don't save much energy, they're very compact, dimmable, and produce a lovely mid-white light (and which I'd recommend to any CFL-haters).

    Now I'd better go and stock up on replacement bulbs for the lava lamp (which won't work on energy saving ones).

  37. Chris Branch

    Drop in the ocean

    Still, the bureaucrats need to keep busy somehow.

  38. Ian Yates
    Thumb Up


    A pedant I may be, but I've long given up explaining to people why "bulb" isn't the correct name for lamps (and why "lamp" isn't the tall thing with the shade in the corner of your room). Heck, even manufacturers put bulb on their packaging.

    That aside, it was strangely warming to see El Reg use bulb in quotes.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Haven't we been here before?

    The reductions are much less because you have to turn the heat up, so in terms of population in the EU, the majority receive little, if any, benefit as our summers aren't that long and are times when we get more daylight anyway.

    That's without counting the development and shipping costs of all these new bulbs or discussing the use of toxic substances in their manufacture.

    Perhaps it would have been a better "goal" to have banned lighting in advertisements. Most major cities have huge adverts lit at night.

  40. Paul

    "more performant technologies"

    Err, what?

    Really, I think the Local Government Association should have a stern word with these guys.

    And the EU wonders why people think of them as a bunch of faceless bureaucrats....

    On topic:

    I hope this is going to be a rule that says, "thou shalt not use more than X watts per lumin" rather than "thou shalt use technology X"

    If they had insisted on pollution limits, rather than obligating catalytic converters, we might have had more efficient cars by now.

  41. Kevin Johnston

    deliver a clear message

    very clear.....playing silly newsbite games does nothing in real terms. Once again they are playing fast and loose with the numbers by ignoring 'whole life' costs in favour of 'household use' costs which changes the balance dramatically. As you say, the saving will amount to a fleabite of the total consumption and generates a whole host of interesting chemicals etc for disposal which was not the case with "last century's" technology, a real step forward there then. At least the technology developed for these advanced projective illuminatory facilitators will be of benefit in other areas of modern living....won't they?

  42. Joe Harrison

    A disaster for the Astrologers

    Brussels logic is that people will use the same amount of lights but much less electrical power. In reality there will be less economic incentive for people to switch things off so they'll just not bother. (I know this for a fact as my kids have free leccy and that's what they do.)

    I predict light pollution will therefore rise sharply and squinty spods out in their gardens with telescopes will be able to see even less in the night sky. (Yes I know but I'm bored today, cue frothing in 10..9..)

  43. Jesse Dorland

    Won't make much of a difference

    Many offices, and residents user leave their on for days, if not months. I don't see this will have any affect on environment.

  44. Mike
    Thumb Down


    "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. Anonymous Coward


    300w halogen uplight more efficient than 100w incandescent bulb pointing down?

  47. Seanmon
    Thumb Down

    Start stockpiling.

    I tried, I really did, but I ditched low-energy bulls last month. 1) They're shit. 2) You can't use them with a dimmer switch. 3) Might save you some money if you live in Buckingham Palace, but they make bugger-all difference in my impoverished hovel, not while I'm running PCs, TV, washing machine etc. 4) They're shit. 5) My house is 1900's with accordingly ancient wiring and period light fittings, LE bulbs simply don't work in many of them. 6) Where they do work, they're shit. 7) Environmentally friendly my arse, more energy to produce than decent bulbs and contain mercury. 8) For the same reason, if you (or your kids) drop one, be careful cleaning it up. 10) Take ages to come on, longer to produce full light. 11) They're shit. 12) Unreliable - I've had pale pink, pale green, and some simply don't work, anywhere. 13) They don't fit in a lot of smaller lampshades. 14) They're ugly. 15) And shit.

  48. Marvin the Martian
    IT Angle

    Good for us, bad for our reptilian minions.

    So what are you whining about this time? Go to LIDL this week for 5 low-energy 11w-replaces-60w Philips bulbs with 10y guarantee and pay all of 40pence. Yes. So if you can calculate then you do this replacement without legal pushing, but 90% of the population can't and a mostly-overlapping 90% can't be @rsed.

    To me it's a loss this ruling, because I like inefficient lamps: they are the most cheap and practical way to provide a nice basking spot for reptiles of any size.

    I know the official policy is to try to ridicule whatever rules come from Brussels, but frankly this amateuristic country needs such prodding. [Yes, you're speaking to someone who tries to buy a property, finds it has decorative mouldings of plaster and asbestos, and all parties involved try to now not look each other in the eyes. This may colour my emotions.] Anyway, you pointedly never applaud such rules when they are beneficial (choosing then to ridicule labour instead).

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Does this take account of the cost incurred also replacing dimmer switches which do not work with everyday energy saving lightbulbs?

  50. Asoces

    I wonder...

    ...if their cost savings estimates factor in the energy and resources needed to safely deal with the toxic mercury contained in the compact fluorescent bulbs.

  51. Sam Turner
    IT Angle

    Arithmetic schmarithmetic

    The evil Wikipedia reckons that the UK consumes about 350 to 400 TWh of electricity a year. So either there is some dodgy arithmetic happening or somebody is dividing apples by bananas. Or perhaps doing a lazy conversion of oil to joules to watt hours and assuming 100% efficiency in electricity generation and transportation.

    Perhaps you ought to stick to reviewing shiny electronic things.

  52. Mad Mike


    The greens gone bonkers again. CFLs are nowhere near good enough yet. Also, both these and halogen incandescents are stupidly expensive. I have lots of dimmers and fac paying £10 a time to replace the builbs with CFLs. I've tried one recently (of the fully dimming type) and it doesn't work properly. I might have to change the dimmer as well.......... How stupid is that. Ignorant MEPs and MPs pass these stupid laws which make almost no difference to energy consumption and yet get the changes they require paid for by the public due to 'second home' etc. rules.

    Perhaps they should attempt to do something about areas that actually matter and won't result in large amounts of grief to people.


    Only major retailers have agreed to stop selling 100w bulbs in January this year. Go to a trade counter etc. and you can still buy them. Result.

  53. Vladimir Katardjiev

    Will this power saved...

    ...compensate the amount of heat not generated by the bulbs?

    Even more fun is that they still need to sell good ol' fashioned bulbs for outdoor use, since apparently the energy saving ones don't work for that. Or that when/if you break one of these bulbs, you need to watch out for poisonous gases.

    Mmmm, safe.

  54. Ian
    Thumb Down

    The message is indeed clear

    that the EU couldn't give a toss. Given the bulk of the energy efficiency gain is through the reduction in the amount of heat the light sources generate and that we'll therefore need to heat our homes fractionally more during the months when we need the most artificial light, the net energy saving will be minute.

    As a man-made global warming skeptic, I see this as a means to simply force everyone to go through an expensive conversion exercise. If they were serious about reducing carbon emissions, there are far more effective targets than light bulbs, such as simple home insulation.

  55. Anonymous Coward


    My Kitchen has 6 Halogens @ 35W a piece

    Are they sure this is more efficent that say a 100W incandesant bulb or say 2 60W or even 2 100w bulbs....


  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not around here mate

    Been trying a few CFLs around the house since energy companies have been subsidising them recently. I have to say that even at 10p each I won't be using them, never mind pay the full price. Complete crap.

    Halogens may be better, but are still too expensive for me to want to try them out - the energy saving being pretty small from what I can see the cost has to come down a lot to justify switching.

    Instead, I've stocked up on enough incandescents to last a good few years. They're still available and likely to be for some time. I got a good supply from a wholesaler through an electrician friend. Speaking to local independent stores, several are pretty miffed about attempts to stop them selling incandescents and have vowed to carry on selling them for as long as possible.

    However, I have noticed a decline in the quality of incandescents recently, possibly linked to the use of smaller envelopes. They don't seem to last as long. Anyone else noticed this?

  57. Dazed and Confused

    Better ways to cut global warming

    Perhaps in all politicos were band from talking we would cut the global production of hot air (and CO2 enriched hot air at that) to the extent that we wouldn't need these petty measures.

  58. James

    Every little helps.

    You can't look at each change in isolation. Lighting is low hanging fruit. It will be easier to push for bigger changes to behaviour and technology with a victory, even a small one already under people's belt's.

  59. Michael C

    dimmable lights cost too much...

    ...But that's my only real issue. In many rooms I much prefer lighting control with dimmable switches. Fortunately, efficinet halogen doesn't cost a ton to place here. Dimable CF can be $20 a bulb or more... This price needs to come way down.

    A minor issue would be to form regulations on forcing CF bulb manufacturers to make it clear and easily distinguishable on the packaging the color temp of the bubls in the pack. a 2400 degree bulb is simply crap, and useful only in attics, storage clostes, and other places where seeing colors is a non-issue. 4000K bulbs are good general use in kitchens, clothes clostes, and most other parts of the house. However, for a living room, library, or bathroom, only 5000K and higher bulbs should be used. The cost difference can be extreme in some cases between bulbs of the same type with different temps. The cheap bulbs are almost allways sub-3K, but regularly I'll find 4500K's mixed in at close pricing, but the only way I can usually tell is to go online and look at the specs. Color temp NEEDS to be displayed on the package, and the method of doing so should be standardized.

    Most people don;t like CF for the "poor lighting." No, that's just "cheap bulbs" with low color temp. Cheap incandescents have the same issue...

    I'm glad some country is finally making a swift move on this. 3% might not sound like much, but even considdering the increased cost of the bulbs, over the lifespan alone most of them come out cheaper, factoring in the electic savings it's a deal only stupid people avoid. For a country to reduce electric use by 3% without multi-billion dollar investments means we can invest that same money in new clean energy instead!

  60. Peyton


    Halogen? Fluorescent? Sure they're better than incandescent for energy efficiency, but if they're going to seriously back a new "standard", mightn't the most efficient one around - i.e., LED - be the one to pursue?? Nevermind the new burden on the environment when people start tossing mercury containing CFLs in the bin. Incidentally, in the US, halogens are somewhat frowned upon as a fire hazard, as they get extremely hot (though maybe that is no longer the case?)

  61. Nigel

    We get to keep halogen bulbs?

    Have they changed their tune without telling us? I'm sure that originally, they were going to ban all incandescent light bulbs, including halogen. I was sufficiently worried that I bought up a lifetime's supply. For someone who suffers mildly from SAD, they're close to a medical necessity.

    Given that one can now buy halogen bulbs which are physically identical to the old orginary GLS light bulbs, I can't imagine that ordinary incandescents will be much missed. But perhaps this was a tactical withdrawal, and halogen bulbs are next for the chop?

  62. Anonymous Coward


    Turn out a lot of heat and certain one can be real fire hazards. What ever happened to LED and OLED lighting?

  63. Brian O'Neill

    Let there be (rubbish light)

    I like to hug trees as much as the next guy, but i tried replacing my normal bulbs with the energy efficient fellas, and to be frank the light quality is terrible. Its dull and harsh.

    I know the qualify will approve over time, but i imagine this is the main reason people do not like them.

  64. OFI

    Time to stock up

    All very well for your average light bulb but what about spot lamps on dimming circuits? The only ones I have found cost a huge amount more then the 'old-school' type, give out less light and are less effective on a dimmer.

  65. Matt


    has anyone done a full energy review of these things? cost of materials, extra packaging, transort costs, manufacturing, end of life recycling, not to menting turning them on and off seems to reduce their life quite a bit, not had one that lasts even 50% of the lifetime on the packet. one even crapped out after a weeks use.

  66. Dave Bell

    Half the story, half the saving?

    It looks as though halogens will require different light fittings--I've never seen such bulbs sold as drop-in replacements, which is a good thing when the temperatures are considered--while compact fluorescent have bulk and weight disadvantages.

    It's the expensive, fancy, light fittings which take the halogen bulbs. And the dirt-cheap dangly ones which have no problem with CF. In between, I can see a lot being replaced, and I don't see good CF-compatible fittings. CF spot bulbs are hard to find, and the shape beteebn reflevtor ons socket may foul a fitting.

    I've seen expensive LED arrays which will fit. Maybe they will make better sense in a year or two, but replacing the light fitting means they can already challenge the total cost of the other replacements.

    Oh, and the heating effect of hot filaments: it's there, but you don't live on the ceiling. Everybody misses out bits of their story.

  67. Steve

    Incandescents rule

    I'll remain with my two 300W halogen strips I use in my lounge.

    What's wrong with using them to offset my heating costs?

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "a clear message about the EU's commitment to reach its energy efficiency... targets..."

    And that message is that personal liberty won't stand in the way of useless token measures.

  69. Tom Hawkins

    Yawn yawn yawn

    The stuff about reactive loads above is rubbish. LED's will be good enough to replace CFLs in a few years and the article says you can keep your halogen incandescents anyway (someone's bound to make BC/ES to halogen adapters if there's enough demand). But never mind, carry on with the lazy anti-EU guff...

  70. Matthew

    Migraine sufferers?

    If you're one of those who have migraines triggered by the compact fluorescent bulbs, tough! The EU's targets are more important than someone with a 'headache'.

    What on Earth is wrong with allowing people to buy what they want? By all means subsidise the efficient bulbs or, more likely, tax the inefficient ones, but why an outright ban? Is it so bad to allow a bit of independence if you just don't like the newer bulbs r if they make you ill?

    I predict that by 2012 the old-style bulbs will sell for a huge premium on eBay. Stock up now!

  71. A J Stiles

    @AC - epilepsy

    Compact fluorescent bulbs are powered by what is effectively a switched-mode power supply, and consequently flicker at several tens of kilohertz. Nobody's eyes are that sensitive.

  72. Schultz

    Don't worry

    OLEDs are on the way.

  73. kevin biswas

    Bangladesh ones are better...

    Oddly enough, the energy-saver bulbs available in Bangladesh are fine for my purposes because they come on to full brightness straight away, unlike the retarded UK ones which seem to have a really annoying boot-up time (Like Adobe Craprobat reader, the delay really pisses me off). Anyone know why that might be ? maybe the BD ones have more mercury or something ? Even though they are not subsidized here, the saving in electricity cost is substantial so I am a fan.

  74. John Robson Silver badge

    @ Mark Haven

    "The savings quoted are based on a lamp being left on constantly - this almost never happens in real settings. When you switch them on and off each time the reactive load uses a lot of energy."

    Do you not watch MythBusters (OK, it was repeated a couple of days ago and I happened to catch it, but they tested a variety of bulbs.

    Startup does cost more energy, but it's negligible - the WORST performers were full size fluorescent tubes, which took the equivalent of leaving them on for 26 seconds to start up.

    So if you leave a room to make a cup of tea - even with the worst performing lights you're best switching them off.

    It's been a long standing rumour, but it was easy to debunk on the back of an envelope:

    Lighting circuits are fused at 6A in general in the UK, so you can't get more than a kW or so anyway. To use several hours worth of energy in a few seconds would require much more, e.g:

    10W bulb.

    Aiming to use 2hours worth in 10 seconds:

    7200/10=720 times the power

    7.2kW ~30 ampere (through a 6A fuse/trip switch)

    ~2.5 kettles!

    it's not going to happen

  75. Mike

    No good for my snake tanks

    No overhead heat means I would have to turn up the heat mats and risk them becoming cooker hobs (no thanks), being more fragile than bulbs is not practical when the snakes press against or squeeze the cold bulbs.

    The idea of a low energy bulb is good, in some cases they are better than the alternative, the problem is we shortly won't have an alternative and the technology isn't quite there yet.

  76. Sam Liddicott
    Thumb Down

    @A J Stiles - epilepsy

    That looks like incomplete reasoning and soviet style proving with logic that what is observed doesn't happen.

    All you've done is put an anecdotal-strength argument that the flickering is not caused by an effective switched mode power supply at several tens of kilohertz -which makes me wonder why you brought it up as nobody was claiming that said flickering had that cause.

    But CFL's often do flicker terribly - but perhaps you don't notice that because you know that it's impossible.


  77. Anonymous Coward


    "Where the 'Commission' fails to take into account these so called 'long-life' fluorescents are so badly manufactured (yet sold at higher price than value) that they break quicker than normal incandescent bulbs, can flicker incessantly, and have a nasty habit of requiring a warming up of a minute or two on average before reaching their most efficient output stage. Higher breakage numbers causes higher demand for replacements, causing the landfill to, well, fill quicker. Efficient right? everybody except the consumer happy."

    This is not my personal experience - I have no idea what you are going on about. I have lived in the same house since 2003. Since then I have mostly bought energy saving 'bulbs' - None of them has broken. None of them has "green light". Also I am sensitive to flourecent light and have in previous years had a lot of problems with for example office and kitchen tubes. I have not experienced any problems with the new style energy saving 'bulbs'. I have always been sensitive to flicker, so for example I cannot watch normal 50Hz TV under longer periods without feeling unwell. I also could not use many old style computer screens unless their display frequency was set to approx 85 Hz or more. I still have not experienced any problems with the new energy saving bulbs that I have bought. Perhaps I have not bought the crappiest alternatives - perhaps I have been lucky - but consider that I have now no traditional bulbs in the house and also that many have been installed for quite a few years - you would have thought that any problems would have been discovered by now.

    This does not meant that there are no problems. I would argue that there are significant problems with the new energy saving 'bulbs'.

    1. Manufacturers should be forced to include a specification on the packaging which describes the "colour" of the light emitted from the bulb. Not only energy usage and warranty.

    2. I have found that I get a good result if I when switching bulbs do not follow manufacturers recommendations but instead upgrade the light at the same time.

    Basically, if I originally had a traditional 60W bulb I have experienced the new light better than the original when switching to a 20W bulb (20W is equivalent to 100W old style bulb). The same goes for when changing an old 40W to a new energy saving equivalent of the 60W instead. This upgrade has made the house more pleasant to live in as there is more light now than before. Most of this upgrade would not have been possible using the old style bulbs as the old fitting in my house would not have allowed stronger bulbs to be fitted (e.g. many fittings would only allow for maximum 60W so uppgrading to 100W old style would not have been suitable - but switching to a 20W new energy saving variant is ok). In some fittings I first could not find bulbs that would fit physically - but this was because I did not know where to buy them and a couple of years ago the selections of energy saving bulbs available at the local supermarkets where feeble at best. Still today we are behind Europe - I was amazed recently when visiting Denmark when in an ordinary supermarket I could find modern solutions to all kind of bulb related problems. The big selection of high power LED lights available to use instead of high wattage halogen kitchen lights as one of many things comes to mind. Have not seen anything like it in any of my local UK supermarkets. Perhaps people are dissapointed because they have been ill adviced - or the solution they have bought has been inappropriate for the task. But just because you do not know about it - this does not mean that there are no suitable solutions available.

  78. Anonymous Coward

    @AJ Stiles

    "Compact fluorescent bulbs are powered by what is effectively a switched-mode power supply, and consequently flicker at several tens of kilohertz. Nobody's eyes are that sensitive."

    I can vouche for the flicker thing - I am very sensitive to flicker and have not been able to watch normal 50Hz TVs I have also not been able to use many old CRT monitors (60Hz VGA for example). I had to buy an expensive Sony 100Hz TV (was a very nice CRT with Trinitron Technology). When it came to monitors I had to see to it that it could be set on to work at 85 Hz or more -otherwise I would get headache and feel sick after a while. The same thing used to happen in my office with the roof lighting (I used to get headaches and feel ill until we changed the lights to better quality ones).

    Now at home I have installed the new compact energy saving bulbs and I have not experienced any problems with flicker at all. T

    hanks for explaining I did not know this - I had for some time worried about the (possible) flickering but could not sense any and did not experience any effect. So it appears that the flickering is way above what I normally would be suffering under.

  79. Anonymous Coward

    @time to move on

    "When I need light I do not always need heat at that particular time or in that particular space."

    What a load of old bunkum.

    The savings by converting to CFLs are marginal and tokenistic at best.

    They do not have the life advertised, at least in my experience.

    They are not good for the environment in that they are more difficult to dispose of and require much more enerfy to manufacture.

    They are not designed for the environments that they are used for. (Dimmers, dim when started so pointless for cupboards, too large/wrong shape for many enclosures....need I go on?).

    And to your point: we tend to need heating in the evening when it gets colder....and when it gets darker. I see the theory of your argument, but in general we do need heat when we need light so the practical consequence of your argument is anulled.

  80. A

    Of energy efficiency and dimmers

    Apparently we should use CFL because "conventional" bulbs are an inefficient form of space heating, as well as lighting.

    I have it on good authority that using electricity for generating heat is 2.7x more carbon intensive than gas space heating, and more importantly it's 3.5x more expensive.

    Of course you should steer clear of the cheap CFLs like the plague that they are. Unfortunately those cheap ones were exactly what British Gas sent out to all their customers, so they're what most people first have experience of.

    A good CFL has a nice colour rendition, and doesn't flicker at all. Check the CRI of any bulb you're considering, check the colour temperature, and if you can test it for yourself to see whether it starts cleanly and quickly.

    Interestingly there's a fair amount of variation in performance between individual bulbs of the same model in my experience. For example that British Gas CFL package contained several apparently identical 60W (equiv) bulbs, one of them starts instantly and builds up to full brightness in under a minute; the other flickers badly during startup and takes several minutes to get brighter, yet the make/model is identical.

    Personally I don't see the slow start characteristic as an issue; I don't usually want full brightness instantly myself, it's uncomfortable.

    As for flickering once the bulb is on; with a good bulb it's negligible IMO. I can see flicker on a CRT up to 80Hz or so, and none of the CFLs here seem to flicker to me.

    As for dimmables; you need special bulbs for that. No idea how well they work, as I don't use dimmers.

  81. nobby

    Dimmers. yep. Daylight. Yep

    I have been buying dimmable compact fluorescent lamps from homebase for a while.

    I have a bunch of "daylight" ones too (for rooms where i want true colours like the art/server room.

    I like a lamp that starts up slowly for the lights between my bed and the loo. So if i wake up in the night i dont get dazzled immediately when i turn the light on. (and YES i've lived in the same house for 8 years and still turn the light on at night to have a pee. You clean up the floor afterwards).

    You want your lamps to produce heat? Fuck that. If i want to heat my house i use Gas Central Heating. I'd rather pay the pittance extra gas than the 5x electricity if i wanted more heat. If you're stupid enough to have electric storage heaters that's your problem, then i'm sure you wont mind if i plug my fan-heater into your mains as well 'cos it wont make much differnce to you..

  82. Charles

    @Mark Haven

    And the bunk on power-on power usage spikes has also been rendered bunk. The US television show MythBusters even did a segment on them, using bulbs readily available in stores (except maybe for LED). Now, the LED was the most efficient, but the technology is still rather expensive. But one thing they did measure objectively was the amount of electricity they use when they're switched on. None of the CFLs used up more energy than the equivalent of one second of steady-burn time (the worst culprit is actually fluorescent tube lights--but even then, the power-on usage was only equivalent to about 20-some seconds of steady-time. Perhaps it's a cue for businesses (the biggest users of the tubes) to start cutting out the lights at night--unless they're afraid of the ballasts breaking and no lights at all in the morning. PS. They make CFLs with a higher color-rendering index, making colors more accurate, as well as CFLs with different color temperature. I personally don't mind high color temperatures since they're closer to daylight, but lower temperatures will resemble incandescents.

  83. John Smith Gold badge


    "So does this mean that my lava lamp that relies on the light AND heat of the bulb will be obsolete?"

    No it means you will be arrested when this governemnt declares position illegal and yourself an environmental criminal.

    Naturally they'd like slip this into some amendments to the Countryside & Wildlife Act but otherwise they'll stuff it in any old bit of legislation that's going through.

    Hmm. "Envirocrime."

    A whole new field of punatative and pointless laws opens up. Of course some might call them "Straw-men" crimes, and of course with the new Uberdatabase finding such people will be so much easier.

  84. Doug Deeds

    Difference in CFL by area?

    I've noticed multiple negative comments about CFL from Europe here over the last year or so. Most were about low brightness and some flicker. My experience here in the U.S. has been the opposite. The bulbs are brighter than their so-called 'equivalent wattages' of incandescent. I would love to put some CFLs in my daughter's room, but the smallest wattages available in the round (not coil) bulbs are just too bright. Anyone out there know if there is a difference in the bulbs made for europe vs. other places. Could this be a difference in how they are drive from the different line voltage and frequency? My only problem is the start up time, espedcially operation in my garage when it's cold.

  85. Alan

    Low Energy but Short Life

    I've been using CFLs for years, I have to use three 18W ones to get decent light in the living room, get the right colour temp ones and the light is good enough (after the warm up period which gets longer as the lamps age) but the thing that goes against all the hype about these things is that I usually only get about a year out of them. It's not the electronics that go, its the fluorescent tube itself that simply wears out. After several months use the light output is reduced, the difference is obvious if I replace one lamp in the three light fitting you see how dim the others have become.

    It is correct that you can't use them in an outdoor fitting, they don't like sub zero temps and may not light at all, also damp goes for the electronics usually resulting in a bang and a puff of smoke (same thing can happen if you use one in a bathroom). Hopefully LED lighting will not suffer from these limitations.

  86. Donald Becker

    The wrong target for regulation

    At first blush, this sounds like a good idea. But it's really just a bad idea with a green coat of paint.

    There are many lighting uses where simple, cheap and mostly reliable incandescent lamps are still the right choice.

    Consider a rarely used attic light. The one in my parents house is probably used well under an hour a year. It would still have the original bulb if I hadn't replaced it with a fancy version that turned itself off after 30 minutes. A CFL lamp in the same location would save a trivial amount of energy, would probably die quickly in the summer attic heat, and would probably not light on that cold winter day we take down the Christmas decorations.

    A far better approach is one that's already common. Most regions in the U.S. have building codes that require at least one lighting fixture at key locations that meets minimum specifications -- usually implemented as florescent fixtures for kitchen and bath lights. That could be expanded to cover more living areas. Even better, allow lower cost cable (14 or 16 gauge) for circuits that serve only high efficiency lighting.

    There is one product that I could see some regulation around: "long life" light bulb that are rated at 130V instead of 120V. At 120V they are very inefficient and will put out much less light than their rating. Worse, they keep on taking -- at 120V they will never burn out and be replaced with reasonable lamps. These are almost a fraud, since no standard system in the world runs at 130V.

  87. Iain Leadley

    Mad men

    Low energy bulbs do not work well when cold as well as being full of mercury vapour.

    LEDs were a possible alternative but LEDs are manufactured using gallium arsenide and with ROHS 2 they want to ban that.

    Filament bulbs are to be got rid off.

    Candles cause pollution.

    We are only left with the sun and moon.

    Its about time the world was run by Engineers but sadly any Engineer who would make a good leader or similar would never be caught dead in such a position as the two are mutually exclusive. So sadly we are all doomed to be run by idiots.


  88. This post has been deleted by its author

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm prepared to live in the dark...

    ... if they are also prepared to work in the dark.

    And not until.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is great :)

    The BC/ES halogen lamps give a really nice light and use less power (not by loads but it helps), and have no problems at all with a dimmer (unlike the expensive "dimmable" CFL I tried which lasted about a month). They used to be rare and far too expensive, but now with the non-halogen filament lamps being phased out (150W+ went first, now 100W, then 60W to follow), the GLS halogen lamps which are a direct replacement seem to be turning up in a lot more places and the prices are already much better.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm also stockpiling Propane gas patio heaters. 'cause they will be banned from next year.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm pretty sure Cuba banned tungsten bulbs three or four years ago. But I suppose the EU version of a ban will be better cos it's democratic or something.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm replacing my lights with oil lamps.

    I get the oil from a renewal resource - I club baby seals. They're green - well, they go green after a week or so.

  94. Anonymous Coward

    At least quote facts and not the Daily Mail...

    If you actually look at the LCA (lifecycle analysis) CFLs do not use more energy over their life than the 8 incandescent light bulbs they replace, even taking into account manufacturing and disposal. Comparing 1 CFL to 1 incandescent is inappropriate.

    Rather than quoting hearsay and the Daily Mail, have a look here for an overview of the CFL life cycle analysis:, or here for a more academic paper

    The mercury used is tiny - far less than the mercury already used in conventional fluorescent fittings used in offices and homes throughout the world for many years. The energy saved also means that less mercury will be pumped into the atmosphere by coal fired power stations for example. Yes recycling facilities need to be stepped up, but that's not an argument for not using them!

    Electricity is the worst way of generating heat, as you have all the generation and transmission costs. Relying on your incandescent light's 'by-product' heat to heat your home is a non-argument (have you ever sat in your house in the middle of winter with just your lightbulb on to heat your home?). You'd need hundreds of incandescent light bulbs to come anything close to the energy output of a gas boiler for example. The half dozen you probably have on at once in your home just aren't going to make much of a dent. If you want heat use efficeint devices designed to produce it, not ones that are designed to produce light!

    Advances in dimmable technology are already being made, and fully dimmable (not stepped) lights are in production now and will only increase as the CFLs replace incandescents - at the moment they are more expensive, but as ever, as the market changes is, mass production will bring down the prices (as already is the case with standard CFLs - them being available for less than a £1 each in many places now).

    Light quality of CFLs has improved dramatically in recent years - admittedly, earlier bulbs did sometimes have a strange colour cast to them, or appear dimmer than conventional incandescents, but more modern ones now available are indistinguishable from incandescents. Certainly I've used them for many years throughout my house, and never had a problem with any of them! For example in this test all the CFLs outperformed the traditional incandescent:

  95. Chewy

    LED halogen replacements

    Still not as good as halogen although they are getting better. Hopefully by getting rid of the incandescents will force the manufacturers to up their game. Also at the moment we are paying the price for adopting the technology early.

    Like others have pointed out, incandescents proved useful when my boiler stopped working.

  96. Steve

    Incandescents rule - part 2

    "Relying on your incandescent light's 'by-product' heat to heat your home is a non-argument (have you ever sat in your house in the middle of winter with just your lightbulb on to heat your home?). You'd need hundreds of incandescent light bulbs to come anything close to the energy output of a gas boiler for example. "

    That's EXACTLY what I did. I have over 1KW of incandescent lighting in my lounge (plus PC and 30 inch monitor) - all that meant I didn't have to use the room heaters (E7) the last winter.

  97. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Incandescents rule - part 2

    "That's EXACTLY what I did. I have over 1KW of incandescent lighting in my lounge (plus PC and 30 inch monitor) - all that meant I didn't have to use the room heaters (E7) the last winter."

    If you're already using power station electricity for heating then sure... you're already using an inefficient and expensive form of energy to provide heat anyway.

    Of course instead of 1KW of incandescent lighting, which has to be on continually to provide you with heat and light, low energy lighting, coupled with a more efficient electric room heater could be used - that heater would not have to be on continually to provide you with the same level of heat comfort that you're getting by running your lighting with high energy usage.

    But clearly the savings are considerably more if you use a more efficient source for local heat generation in the first place such a oil/gas - or alternative power of course!

  98. Wortel




    By Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 19th March 2009 17:07 GMT


    "Where the 'Commission' fails to take into account these so called 'long-life' fluorescents are so badly manufactured (yet sold at higher price than value) that they break quicker than normal incandescent bulbs, can flicker incessantly, and have a nasty habit of requiring a warming up of a minute or two on average before reaching their most efficient output stage. Higher breakage numbers causes higher demand for replacements, causing the landfill to, well, fill quicker. Efficient right? everybody except the consumer happy."

    This is not my personal experience - I have no idea what you are going on about. --snip---


    By all means, if it works for you don't bother changing it. But i'm done with them, really. In that respect you and I are exact opposites, CFL works for you and it doesn't for me. I bought more replacements than I care to remember, they all flickered, burned their starter to a crisp or cracked their glass and failed faster than regular incandescents. and these were Philips and Osram brands.. I thought I could expect some quality by buying the 'proper' kinds, but it was highly disappointing and surprisingly expensive in the end after adding it all up.

    For me, LED is the way of the future. Not a single LED has failed, and there's now literally hundreds all over my house and garden, and the ones that have their own power source are recharged primarily by solar power.

    There's something magical about watching your garden light up in the evening with small well-placed garden lights here and there. This will be their third summer, 100% off the grid.

    As for your other comments, I share your experience with sickening flicker rates. I cannot use or look indirectly at any kind CRT anymore since a previous experience with acute flicker-illness (for lack of a better name) unless they are refreshing at 85Hz or above.

    Any CFL, tube or bulb looks like a strobe light to me, and so do cheap TFT monitors (Neovo E-17 being an example) and badly configured (read: cheap) PWM driven light dimmers.

    Unsurprisingly, even some of the higher priced types still exhibit the same behaviour, a big gripe. Don't these manufacturers test things properly? penny pinching skinflints the lot of them. Scrooge would be proud.

  99. Richard Porter

    New bulbs?

    Come off it! CFLs have been around for about 27 years - they're sooo last century (GLS is 19thC technology). Now that LED technology is rapidly developing what's the point of forcing us to switch to old style compact fluorescents and quartz-halogen lamps before LED equivalents are available? I have a 1W LED spotlamp which replaced a 40W tungsten bulb. A compact fluorescent equivalent would be about 6watts. What's more LED lamps will be dimmable.

    Btw exactly which halogens are used in halogen lamps? When they first appeared for car headlamps they were quartz-iodine so why was the name changed? I've always suspected that it was done because nobody knew what halogens were (well, if you didn't do O-level/GCSE chemistry, that is) but people associated iodine with its medical uses.

  100. Steve

    @ AC

    "more efficient source for local heat "

    How can a heater not be efficient? My lights are damned efficient heaters, probably about 95% efficient; the other 5% is light.

    How are my incadescent lights more expensive than a boiler or dedicated heater (especially a gas one) and low energy lights?

    My need for powered lighting and heating usually go hand in hand.

  101. A J Stiles

    Spoiled brats - Get over it

    All the people who are whinging on here just go to show why filament bulbs need to be banned sooner rather than later. You were given a choice, you made the wrong choice, and now your choice is having to be taken away from you to keep you from hurting anyone. You are acting like a bunch of spoilt little children. Newsflash: The world does not revolve around you! Electricity is a limited resource. There are only so many power stations. We can't build any new ones (of whatever technology) because of idiots protesting against them, and some of the ones we've got are nearing the end of their useful lives. Something's got to give.

    The arguments about flickering and colour rendering are specious. Modern energy saving lamps do not flicker noticeably. *No* artificial light has exactly the same colour rendering properties as daylight (and do you mean summer daylight or winter daylight, clear or overcast sky? Just ask someone who used to do colour photography using film). The technology *will* improve, given time, or you'll just get used to it.

    As for the contribution made by filament lights to space heating: If you lived in a Passivhaus, you might have a valid point there; but you don't, so you haven't. Clue: If it's bearable on a Summer evening with the lights on, they're not making a noticeable contribution to heating.

    As for mercury: There's way more of the stuff coming out of power station chimneys (powering your filament bulbs) than there is in compact fluorescents. And once a proper closed-loop recycling programme is in place, it's hardly a concern -- at least as long as you can be bothered to use the right bin. (Aside; do the people who think recycling is "too much effort" just take a dump on the living room floor while watching TV, on the basis that walking to the toilet is similarly "too much effort"?)

    If you had your way, you'd probably still be trying in vain to argue why you should be allowed to keep your inefficient light-emitting resistors at the moment the juice ran out, and even after then you'd probably be blaming everyone but yourselves.

    Try generating your own electricity sometime. You'll soon realise then that every milliamp matters!

  102. Gyorgy Bano

    Electric regulation in general

    I have to agree with everyone who likes the CFL lights, you just have to buy the proper ones. However the bulk of these are moved by big malls, where quality isn't a concern - you can buy C category fridges and washmachines too! One of these equipments waste more electricity a day than the whole lighting in a small flat.

    As for the dimmer lovers, you either use too much of them (unless you are living in the '80ies :) or you are entitled to use lighbulbs until a LED breakthrough happens (10 years from now, sadly)

    Buy CFLs from a place where is a real warranty is in place and keep the receipt!

    We use CFL since it become economical, so in the last 20 years or so, because heating of the ceiling should not be paid by us.



  103. Steve

    @ AJ - spoiled prat

    Where was I given the choice? If I was given it I would have chosen to remain with incandescents being available.

    Who the hell am I hurting? What an absolutely stupid comment to make!

    “and even after then you'd probably be blaming everyone but yourselves.” … “We can't build any new ones (of whatever technology) because of idiots protesting against them”

    Well said!

    How are my incandescent lights more expensive than a boiler or dedicated heater (especially a gas one) and low energy lights?

    How is my incandescent heating any worse than my E7 heaters (that leak heat during the day when I’m not around to capitalise on that heat, and can’t really be turned off once heated, and are smokey) ? (I don’t have gas).

    To answer your stilly statement, which I’ve already eluded to (“My need for powered lighting and heating usually go hand in hand.”), clue: during summer, I don’t have all my lights turned on, certainly not at full power. The sun shines into my lounge well past 9pm during summer (at a perpendicular angle too) – I don’t need lighting at all until the sun has set. When I do need light during those hot months, I dim all the lights to extend the sunset effect (all my incandescents are dimmable). If necessary I can even switch over to using CLFs. I’m not saying CFLs are bad, I am saying that incandescents are more suited to my purposes for the majority of the time. Why should people like me have to suffer because of people who think ‘perfectly rendered’ light is emitted from their backside? Why not extol the virtues instead of imposing a blanket ban? Why all stick, no carrot? Try not judging the needs of others by your own standards sometime.

    Granted my system isn’t perfect (yes the temperature regulation isn’t very good) and it isn’t for everyone, but my entire leccy bill averaged over the year is £35-40 per month (and there’s no maintenance) over the last year (including the price hikes) and I managed fine – and I don’t have gas!

  104. Steve

    @ Gyorgy Bano

    "because heating of the ceiling should not be paid by us."

    Where do you think the warmed air goes after it leaves the radiators? ;c)

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A J Stiles

    If incandescent bulbs don't make a noticable contribution to heating then why are we being told to replace them with CFLs? It's only the heat output that leads to lighting inefficiency and you say this heat output is negligible. Make your mind up.

  106. Andrew Garrard

    Everything in it's place

    I have a house full of compact fluorescents (although the sooner they get *more* compact so that they fit behind uplighters properly, the better). The exceptions are a couple of artsy ceiling lights which take miniature bulbs for which - for some reason - LED replacements aren't yet available (I rarely turn them on anyway), and the halogen spotlights in the kitchen and bathroom (tried a compact fluorescent, but they're neither bright enough nor directional enough; awaiting cheaper and better LEDs). Oh, and a filament security light which is only on for a few seconds - I'd switch it to LEDs if full-size LED bulbs weren't stupidly expensive.

    I have, fortunately, no dimmers - although last I heard dimmer-based CFLs were becoming available.

    Still, banning incandescents is a dumb idea. By all means *tax* the incandescent bulbs to subsidise a switch to something with a lower power consumption, but when I'm trying to colour match a print-out and don't want random metamerism getting in the way neither a fluorescent nor an LED will do: full daylight spectrum or nothing.

    As for astronomy (stuff the astrologers - they can make it up anyway) it'd be better if councils would stop using high pressure sodium street lights unnecessarily. Low pressure sodium (the very orange ones) are easy for astronomers to filter out and are more efficient anyway. In a few places I'll buy that having less monochromatic light would help people avoid driving off the road, but most of them are just wasteful.

    (Alien, because I'd like to be able to see mars from my back garden.)

  107. Richard Neill

    The elephant in the room... that our world-wide electricity production is going to go up by a factor of 7 by 2050 (as the 3rd-world countries come up to our standards of living), while the world-wide CO2 emissions need to go down 50%. That means that cosmetic changes are red herrings. The *only* solution that will work is nuclear power.

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