Low-Energy Bulbs to Steal Spotlight by 2012

The government yesterday announced that the conventional light bulb will soon be a thing of the past after supermarkets and other energy suppliers have agreed to phase out high-energy bulbs from next year.

The project is expected to save just over 20m tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere between now and 2012, when current light bulbs will have been completely phased out. The low-energy bulbs use 80% less power than standard incandescent bulbs, and last 12 times longer. However, the low-energy bulbs are more expensive to buy.

Political parties and environmentalist groups are unhappy with the government initiative. They argue that other countries are taking a firmer approach to eliminating the high-energy light bulbs. Australia has issued a ban on the bulbs which is effective from 2009.

Many shops support these groups’ ideas and have made arrangements to be high-energy bulb free before 2012. Habitat has agreed for a 2009 completion of phase-out, while Woolworths, the Co-op, Asda, Morrison’s, and Sainsbury’s have all agreed on 2010, with Tesco bringing up the rear in 2011. Somerfield has yet to confirm a date for completion of the phase-out.

Opposition parties urged the government to go further. "New standards should also seek to phase out stand-by. Instead, the EU has just announced an anti-dumping tariff on imports of energy-saving bulbs from China which will make them more expensive," said Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesman.

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  • darkstar782
    With Thermostatically controlled heating, this is a false saving, as any heat emitted from the old style bulbs simply warms the room and means the central heating (often Gas or Oil fired, while the lightbulb could be powered by a renewable source) puts out less heat.

    CFLs also cannot be controlled by Dimmer switches, and emit poor light when first turned on. This leads to people just leaving them on 24-7, meaning more wasted energy.

    CFLs are unsuitable for specialist appliances such as cooker lighting, which must tolerate temperatures of 300 degrees centigrade.