EU to phase out halogen lamps before 2018 ban

Halogen lamps will start being phased out in the European Union from today as part of plans to crack down on inefficient light bulbs.

Halogen spotlights will become increasingly difficult to purchase across the EU and they will not be replenished once old stock runs out.

A wider ban on halogen bulbs such as candle or traditional-shaped bulbs will not be introduced until 2018.

Halogen bulbs are more expensive to run than other energy-saving bulbs, use a similar amount of energy to traditional incandescent light bulbs and generally last for less than two years.

The changing regulations aim to encourage consumers to shift to LED lamps, which cost much less to run than traditional light bulbs, but the transition period may create some temporary difficulties for consumers.

“Simply replacing halogen light sources with new retrofit LED lamps can lead to problems with flicker, poor low-end dimming performance, audible noise and even interference with products such as audio-visual systems,” said Lutron’s Sam Woodward writing for E&T in July. 

Old-style incandescent bulbs have already been phased out across Europe due to their low energy efficiency.

A test by consumer group Which? found that a kitchen lit by six 42-watt halogen spotlights with the brightness of a conventional 60-watt bulb would typically cost £28.80 to run over the course of a year.

It found 10-watt LED lights of the same brightness will cost £6.96 over a year.

In a blog published on Thursday, the European Environmental Bureau said: "2016 is the year LED light bulbs will go mainstream in Europe. Having already conquered the commercial sector, LEDs are now set to take over in the home.

"This is thanks to a dramatic crash in their retail price in recent years, combined with EU rules banning wasteful halogen spotlight bulbs from being placed on the EU market from today.

"This is all excellent news both for consumers and the environment."

In January, a research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated a way to increase the efficiency of incandescent light bulbs to make them more than twice as efficient as the best LED bulbs. 

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