Recent bans on halogen lightbulbs ordered by the European Union have now come into force and are being replaced with energy-efficient alternatives, but what does this mean for consumers?
Since 1 September, retailers became unable to order new stocks of halogen light bulbs, which were first made commercially available in 1959. They have proved to be hugely inefficient, prompting the latest move to LEDs, which the European Commission first announced back in 2009.
Despite reports of customers stockpiling the soon-to-be-obsolete bulbs, current stocks will last for up to a year, though prices could rise slightly as retailers attempt to capitalise on the new rules. However, once stocks do run out, the public will no longer be able to buy halogen bulbs. Only special-purpose lights such as projector lamps and stage lighting will be available in store or from specialist shops online.
Why the change?
The lifespan for halogen bulbs is estimated at 2,000 hours or two years, if used for three hours a day. In comparison, LED bulbs are likely to last for much longer, with a life expectancy of 25,000 hours, or 15–20 years. They are also a much greener option as they only consume one-fifth of energy that halogen bulbs do, which are responsible for more than 15,000,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in the UK per year.
Despite LED lights being more expensive to purchase than halogen bulbs (which cost roughly £1.50 per bulb), they can save you a significant amount of money down the line through cheaper energy bills.
A previous study showed that homeowners using 35 halogen spotlights of 50W for an average of five hours per day over the course of a year, received an electricity bill, for lighting only, of £399.22. The homeowners then swapped to the same number of LED bulbs but at 5W each, which came at the more expensive price of £8.99 per bulb, amounting to £314.65. Overall, the lighting bill significantly dropped down to £39.92, saving a staggering £359.30 and earning back the money spent on purchasing the bulbs.
LampShopOnline’s Rob Holroyd says: “Generally speaking, the change to LED is good for everyone. According to figures from lighting manufacturer Philips, a global move towards LED lighting will lead to significant energy savings.
“It’s also ideal for businesses and householders, as anyone swapping to LEDs will see an immediate and noticeable difference to their energy bills.
“In fact, if you have a smart meter it’s easy to see. Just replace your bulbs for a week and it will soon become apparent how much money you’ve saved.”
The switch to LED will be painless, says Rob, as most LED light bulb brands will have created a shape to fit the old halogen-type sockets. So, there’s no need to run out and buy new lamps or light fittings. If you’re unsure, simply compare the size of your existing bulb with an LED.
Recent findings have discovered LED lights encourage a 5% rise in reading speed and a decrease in spelling mistakes. They can also dramatically reduce eyestrain and headaches, which is one of the leading issues reported by employees.
The light from LEDs varies from a very warm white (under 2,700K) to a cool white (5,500K–6,500K). Research shows that the performance of workers improves when they are exposed to blue-toned or cooler lights, which encourages alertness, energy and reduces tiredness.