Opinion - The final phase

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Opinion

With the deadline for the final phase of the incandescent lamp replacement directive due at the beginning of next year, Marie Parry from Click Scolmore, looks at the issues surrounding the replacement of the traditional light bulb

 

It is nearly two years since the EU directive governing the phasing out of incandescent lamps was passed, and since its implementation in September 2009, we have seen 100W, 75W and 60W lamps removed from sale in the UK.  By 1 September 2012 the remaining 40W and 25W will be phased out, leaving the transition to energy saving alternatives complete. But with a great deal of confusion still surrounding the whole subject of replacement bulbs – and a recent national newspaper article fuelling consumer  bewilderment about what low energy options are available and where they can get hold of them - there is work the industry can do to ensure any misconceptions are laid to rest.
The findings of a survey, conducted by The Mail on Sunday and published earlier this year, should be an alarm call to the industry, claiming as it does ‘it is now almost impossible to buy a direct replacement for any of the old-style pearl light bulbs in any of Britain’s major retailers.’     
The fact is there are low energy replacements for virtually every traditional light bulb available and it is up to the industry to ensure this information is made widely available and communicated throughout the industry channels to reach the public.  
When Click Scolmore joined forces with Energetic it was to bring price-competitive products from the world’s largest manufacturer of low energy lighting to the UK market and to continue to drive the market with the very latest in technological advances.  
For many consumers the impression remains low energy light bulbs are hugely expensive, take a long time to reach their full (and in many cases inferior) light capacity and are often larger than their traditional counterparts. According to the survey the latter was cited as the biggest single problem - “the new low-energy alternatives are often far too large to fit into traditional conical reading lamps and often stick out of the top.”  
An enormous amount of work has been done in recent years to develop the low energy lighting sector – currently made up of CFLs, low energy Halogen light bulbs and LEDs. The advancements made in LED technology means that virtually any fitting in the home can now accommodate a low energy lamp.  A comprehensive range of direct replacements that includes candle, dimmable and reflector lamps is now available and they don’t compromise on shape, size or light output.
We are experiencing the same concerns with LEDs today that we had with CFLs.  CFLs have been around for some years now and people are much more aware of them, but when they were first introduced they were considered a very costly, inefficient alternative, just like LEDs are viewed today.  
Yes low energy lighting is more expensive – but as technology continues to drive the market and the competition, so prices will continue to fall – but both CFLs and LEDs produce similar levels of light for much less power and therefore offer homeowners and building operators substantial savings on the amount of electricity they use.
Many of the Energetic lamps feature G-Start technology, which combines a thermal management system with acceleration in the vaporization of Amalgam. This results in a light output of 60% in less than 15-20 seconds. This technology in combination with the traditional incandescent shape makes it a true direct replacement for the standard incandescent lamp in look and feel and light effect though saves 80% energy and lasts for 10 years.
The rate of progress in developing LEDs has been tremendous and the light outputs now achievable from LEDs means they are no longer used simply for decorative or feature lighting but as functional solutions for task lighting in all the main areas of domestic dwellings and business premises.
With the industry primed for the January 2012 deadline that will see the last incandescent lamps removed from sale, there is still a job to do to get the message across to the general public about the full potential that low energy lighting offers and convince them there is a comprehensive range of direct replacement products available that will provide not just home owners but building operators too, with products that look aesthetically pleasing and will offer huge energy and therefore cost savings.