Light bulb phase out

The most energy-guzzling light bulbs in Britain will start disappearing from shop shelves early next year as part of efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

The most energy-guzzling light bulbs in Britain will start disappearing from shop shelves early next year as part of efforts to cut CO2 emissions, Secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn said this week.

The voluntary initiative, which is being led by major retailers and energy suppliers, will see energy efficient light bulbs replace their least efficient equivalents on shop shelves over the next four years.

The aim of the exercise is to save up to five million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2012 from UK electricity generation, the equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of a typical 1GW coal fired power station.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced in March his aim for the UK to be one of the first countries to phase out inefficient light bulbs and set an ambitious target date to achieve that by the end of 2011, ahead of possible actions by the EU to ban the products altogether.

‘Britain is leading the way in getting rid of energy-guzzling light bulbs and helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint. Choosing energy saving light bulbs can help tackle climate change, and also cut household bills, with each bulb saving up to £60 over its lifetime,’ said Benn.

The government has proposed a possible schedule for the phase out of inefficient lamps, that it hopes that retailers might want to follow.

It suggests that, by January 2008, retailers should cease replacing stock of all inefficient (General Lighting Service, GLS) A-shaped incandescent lamps of energy rating higher than 100W (predominantly 150W lamps).

  • By January 2009, they should also cease selling all inefficient GLS A-shaped lamps of energy rating higher than 60W (predominantly 150W lamps, 100W lamps, plus some 75W lamps).
  • By January 2010, they should stop selling all GLS A-shaped lamps of efficacy of energy rating higher than 40W (predominantly 60W lamps).
  • By 31 December 2011, all sales of the remaining inefficient GLS A-shaped lamps and 60W “candle” and “golfball” lamps. (predominantly 40W and 25W A-shaped GLS bulbs, and 60W candles and golfballs) would cease.

Next, the government will be issuing a public consultation paper on the detailed analysis, targets and standards that it would like to achieve for domestic lighting products in the UK, with a view to updating its proposed phase out schedule.

At the moment, it said that it expects candles and golfballs, tungsten halogen lamps and lamps supplied with non-lighting electrical appliances to remain on sale, because suitable energy-efficient alternatives do not currently exist.

Retailers including ASDA, B&Q, The Co-operative Group, Home Retail Group (Argos and Homebase), and IKEA have come out in support of the idea.

It is also being promoted through the major energy companies as part of their activities through the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT).