The EU is beginning the process of phase-out of traditional bulbs
The plan foresees a saving of about 11,000 million annually, a rate of 160 per household. The industry will not serve incandescent lamps over 100 watts starting tomorrow.
If Thomas Edison were alive surely be horrified. The inventor of the incandescent bulb would witness as of Tuesday at the start of the community plan designed to phase out this form to centenarian lighting the European Union (EU) provides annual energy savings equivalent to about 11,000 million, a rate 50 to about 160 euros, according to various studies, per household.
The bulbs will not disappear overnight. But starting tomorrow, the producers will no longer distribute 100 watts (W) and more, as envisaged in the timetable of the EU. This type of bulb will last the duration of the stores stocks.
The major producers are the Netherlands' Philips, the German Osram, owned by Siemens, the also German Sylvania, acquired in 2007 by the Indian Havells and, in U.S.A., General Electric, the company heiress Edison. Among all share the bulk of the 1,000 million incandescent light bulbs that are consumed annually in Europe. It is estimated that about 12%, around 120 million, are 100 watts or more.
The process, agreed last December and ratified in March this year within the range of measures for sustainable development, will culminate in September 2012. "The lighting industry is ready to face the new change in technology" Osram points.
LESS CONSUMPTION / In fact this company, as others, has a large catalogue of compact fluorescent lamps or low-power and halogen, which already replaced incandescent bulbs and provide, on average, power savings of 75% in the first case and from 25% to 50% with respect to the old Edison's invention.
No one takes away the merit of a lighting system that lasts from 1879. But times changes and society rejects light points that only employ between 5% and 10% of energy consumed to illuminate. The remaining energy is lost as heat.
For companies of this sector, more efficient lighting is an opportunity. These are the most innovative lighting elements and therefore are more expensive (between two and 10 euros on average compared to 60 cents from the bulb). But they also have a duration multiplied by 10 the 1,000 hours of life of the traditional light bulb, and reduce the electricity bill.
Critics remember that the most efficient low-power lamps contents mercury. European Commission notes that the maximum allowed is five milligrams, “a lower level than a dental implant or old thermometer”.
Brussels admits that 3,000 of the 50,000 jobs which exist in Europe in this field may be in danger because the bulbs are manufactured here while their surrogates, usually compact fluorescent imported from Asian countries like China. So sanctions have been applied for selling below cost. The risks in terms of employment are offset by the benefits of reducing the electricity bill by 10% to 15%, according to the European Commission.