Halogen lightbulbs are on the way out, it’s official! There had been plans to delay the ban on these sources of illumination until September 2018, but the European Commission conducted a review and brought the start of the ban forward. The ban actually started on September 1 2016. From this date forward, the European Commission decided that mains-voltage halogen directional bulbs would start to be phased out.
This doesn’t mean that the lightbulb police will march into your home and remove your bulbs right from under your nose (or, more likely, over your head…). What it does mean is that these types of bulb will no longer be manufactured or imported for sale within the EU. This bulb type includes popular cap types such as the GU10, the E27 and the B22.
GU10 halogen bulbs and reflector bulbs like the R80, the R63 and GLS-type bulbs will still be sold, but they won’t be made anymore.
The lights are still on
It might come as a surprise to think that it’s only five years since the phasing out of incandescent lamps. A lot of people made a fuss and stockpiled these bulbs as an act of defiance against the EU! However, five years on everyone’s shifted over to halogens without a fuss and most people are pretty happy with them. They use less energy, cost less to run and last for years. In the intervening years, however, the cost of the LED bulbs which are replacing halogen has come down – by as much as 70% – and so now is the time to make the change yourself!
Why is halogen being phased out anyway?
Quite simply, even though halogens are better than incandescent bulbs, they’re still very inefficient; these bulbs use 80% of their energy to give out heat rather than light. A 50 Watt GU10 bulb can be swapped out for an LED lamp that uses as little as 4.3 Watts and emits the same amount of light. This represents an energy saving of just over 90%. When you think like this, you’d be struggling to come up with a reason to hang onto your halogens. LED lights pay for themselves within a year and can carry on saving up to £400 a year for up to 15 years.
Making the change to LED
Changing over to LED from halogen (or even incandescent if you were a stockpiler…) is surprisingly easy and a lot cheaper than you’d imagine. Prices for dimmable LEDs can start as low as £4.00 and they are built to run for 35,000 hours – 35 times as long as halogen.
If Britain leaves the EU, will the ban still stand?
The UK’s recent decision to leave the European Union won’t affect the halogen ban as the UK is still a member of the EU and will be until 2019 at the earliest. It’s possible that once the UK has left, it will look to repeal the ban, but this is very unlikely as it makes environmental and economic sense.