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The light bulb phase out schedule

Author: Jon Sharman
Published: April 17, 2016

In 2009, the EU began phasing out of inefficient bulbs in favour of energy-efficient alternatives. The incandescent light bulb has existed for 130 years, but a global need to reduce carbon emissions has made it obsolete. Incandescent bulbs are inefficient because they waste most of their energy creating heat.

New bulbs on the block

The natural successors to the incandescent bulb are CFLs and LED bulbs. These use 60-90% less energy than incandescent lighting and offer a much longer lifespan.

EU phase-out timetable

On 18th March 2009, a timetable was created by EU states outlining the gradual withdrawal of incandescent bulbs from production. Most of the phase-out has taken place, but latter stages of the schedule have been reviewed. The current chronology (May 2016) is as follows:

 

1st September 2009 Phase-out of clear 100W and above incandescent bulbs.
Non-clear (frosted/pearl) bulbs require an ‘A’ energy rating (effectively meaning they must be CFL or LED).
1st September 2010 Phase-out of 75W clear incandescent bulbs.
1st September 2011 Phase-out of 60W clear incandescent bulbs.
1st September 2012 Phase-out of all remaining clear incandescent bulbs (i.e. 40W and 25W).
24th February 2016 Phase-out of some bulbs previously defined as special purpose, including incandescent rough service bulbs, high/low temperature bulbs and clear glass decorative filament bulbs (tinted glass models still permitted).
1st September 2016 Phase-out of directional mains-voltage halogen bulbs (i.e. GU10, PAR, R-type).
1st September 2018 Phase-out of non-directional halogen bulbs (i.e. candle, GLS, globe, golf ball).

Special-purpose items such as fridge and oven lamps, halogen capsules and linear R7s bulbs are untouched by these bans, as they cannot be adequately replaced by other technologies.
Low voltage halogen lamps (e.g. MR16) remain available in the EU. Unlike 240V equivalents, these can achieve a ‘B’ energy rating by using an IR coating in their design. This ensures the long-term survival of some 12V halogen products.

About energy ratings…

On the 1st September 2013, EU Regulation 874/2012 came into force. Among other things, this introduced A+ and A++ energy classes to cater for LED improvements and deleted defunct F and G classes. From the 1st March 2014, all light fittings entering the market and sold directly to end-users must be labelled with the energy rating of compatible or supplied bulbs (see this article). Fittings installed with non-replaceable light sources must be identified at the point of sale.

For more lighting news and information, please take a look at our Lighting Advice section.