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Lights out! The traditional lightbulb has lit its last room

Lights out for the lightbulb!

energy saving bulbs

Incandescent lightbulbs are officially banned in the UK after 3 years of being phased out.

 It’s the end of the lightbulb as we know it. After a phase out that began in 2009, retailers are officially no longer able to order new stock of the 40W and 25W  traditional light bulbs, although they will be able to sell any stock they have remaining. We are officially a nation of energy-saving light bulbs.

Although many of us will already be familiar with the energy-efficient bulb, the initial removal of the 100W and 60W traditional bulbs from the market in 2009 and 2010 was not without its controversy; something we came to learn when we published ‘Come on, it’s just a lightbulb‘ in defense of the phase out.

Many felt that energy-efficient light bulbs had a lower quality light, were slow, ugly, expensive and represented an unwelcome intereference from the government.

In response, the industry made strides to improve their quality, and now modern energy-efficient efficient light bulbs now quicly reach their full brightness, have a range of tones of light and have a more flexible look.

In fact, some light bulbs are difficult to distinguish from the old ones… see that picture above? They are both energy-saving bulbs with one is doing a passable impression of a traditional bulb.

Traditional bulbs phased out

The traditional light bulbs were initially phased out because 95% of the energy they use is lost on the heat they emit.

A Defra spokesman said: “The final stage of the EU phase-out of incandescent light bulbs will mean that from September 1, 25W and 40W bulbs will no longer be allowed into the market. However, this does not prevent retailers selling existing bulbs they already have in stock.”

Peter Hunt, joint chief executive of the Lighting Industry Association, called the phaseout ‘smooth’ thus far:

“Concerns about poor performance of replacement bulbs have been proved wrong. The new LED replacements for halogen downlighters that have come on to the market over the past year work just as well, for example.

“Price is still a barrier, but that’s coming down almost daily as volume increases.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman from B & Q said that we have more to come:  “Modern energy-saving bulbs are now much more stylish and highly cost-effective across their lifetime.

“The next generation of energy-saving light bulbs are LEDs which use even less electricity, last longer and reach full brightness instantly.”

Things to remember about energy efficient light bulbs

Avoid installing halogen lighting – don’t be fooled by the low voltage, they are incredibly wasteful.

Use side-lights with low energy bulbs installed in them if you are stuck with fixed halogen lights that are difficult to replace.

Find the right light output that the room needs – divide the output of your old traditional lighting by five to calculate the low energy equivalent.

Energy-saving light bulbs last a lot longer than the old ones, so you can now think of light bulbs as one-off purchase that will last you years.

They are more expensive – but only initially. When you work out the cost of an energy-saving light bulb over its lifetime, you will have saved overall.

Learn more:

Energy efficient lighting: a breakdown of all the facts and figures of energy-saving lighting.

Free energy-saving tips: our top tips for saving energy for free.

  • Stephen

    My experience so far with CFL bulbs has been disappointing. First off, they
    take a couple of minutes to warm up and until then it’s like being in a cave.
    Secondly, contrary to the claims of prolonged life, I have changed CFL bulbs
    quite frequently. Due to the slow warm up time, I have both incandescent and
    CFL recessed lights. I have changed out two sets of CFL bulbs while the
    incandescent bulbs are still working. This was also the case with the CFL
    bulbs that replaced some incandescent vanity light bulbs. LEDs are much better
    but they also cost 10-15 times more than an incandescent. $29 for an LED PAR30
    compared to $2.50. We are also trading one issue for another, CFLs are
    considered hazardous waste while old bulbs are recyclable.

  • W Kirchdorfer

    When Edison invented the incandescent lightbulb, did the governments of the
    time hurry, hurry, hurry to make it illegal to light a wax candle.
    Of course not. Because they still had an ounce of sense back then, while
    nowadays senseless, overbearing, mean, useless, dangerous and corrupt
    lawmaking is the rule. Lawmakers should not be immune from prosecution
    when in their official capacity, because may be that would make
    them think a little.

  • Chris S

    Here we go again! Anyone with sight difficulty knows that the new bulbs provide light of a poor quality. In an effort to go ‘greener’ we installed energy efficient lights onto our stairs and landing. My wife, who has AMD, had great difficulty getting any view of the steps and fell down them, injuring her back. The result – flooding the space with halogen light – has made it much easier for her to use the stairs. We do not trust these new bulbs and consider this new ruling has potentially put her safety at risk.

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  • WrinklyOldGit

    It is not about saving energy, it is all about generating extra profits from unreliable short lived low power inadequate bulbs that cost pennies to make but which cost pounds to buy. In addition they are a nightmare disposal problem, requiring to be specially handled – which most people think is just another unnnecessary chore, so they are just dumped in the bin when they stop working.