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The light bulb phase out schedule

Author: Jon Sharman
Published: April 17, 2014

Back in 2005, governments around the world began phasing out incandescent bulbs in favour of energy-efficient alternatives. The incandescent light bulb has existed for 130 years, but the compelling need to reduce carbon emissions meant its days were firmly numbered. Emitting heat as a by-product of generated light, incandescent bulbs have always been extremely inefficient.

New bulbs on the block

The natural successors of the humble incandescent bulb are retrofitting CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) or LED bulbs. These technologies use 60-80% less energy than incandescent lighting. Lifespan is also greatly increased. Offering numerous advantages over other light forms, LED lighting is widely regarded as one of the most investable clean technologies of the early 21st century.

EU phase-out timetable

On 18th March 2009, a timetable was formulated by EU states, outlining the gradual withdrawal of incandescent lamps from sale. As a form of incandescent lighting, halogen lamps were included. A summary of the timetable can be seen below:

1st September 2009 Phase-out of 100W clear incandescent lamps, and above (C-class retrofit halogen lamps allowed at all wattages until 2018).

Non-clear (frosted/pearl) lamps must be A-class (e.g. CFL or LED).

1st September 2010 Phase-out of 75W clear incandescent lamps.
1st September 2011 Phase-out of 60W clear incandescent lamps.
1st September 2012 Phase-out of all remaining clear incandescent lamps (i.e. 40W and 25W).
1st September 2013 Phase-out of clear halogen energy efficiency classes D and E.
1st September 2018 Raising the minimum level to B-class for clear retrofit lamps (i.e. phasing out C-class retrofit halogen lamps).

Special purpose bulbs such as decorative lamps are untouched by these bans. Energy-saving halogen bulbs have been commonly used to replace original incandescent equivalents, typically consuming 20-30% less energy. Most such halogen bulbs are ‘C’ energy rated, which will be incompliant with EU legislation after September 2018.

Note that popular forms of halogen lamp such as the AR111, GU10, MR16, or low-voltage capsule will also need to be class B energy rated to survive the phase-out of September 2018. Clear halogen lamps with R7s and G9 bases are exempt from this.
An example of energy efficient labelling for light fittings and bulbs

About those 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 advances in LED efficiency, and deleted defunct F and G classes. From the 1st March 2014, any light fittings entering the market and sold directly to end-users must be labelled with the energy-rating of compatible or supplied bulbs. Fittings installed with non-replaceable light sources (e.g. LED modules) must be identified at the point of sale.

Incandescent’s last stand

It is still legal to manufacture and sell strengthened ‘rough service’ incandescent bulbs for industrial use, though these are only available through specialist lighting retailers such as Lyco.

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