EU Ban on Incandescent Bulbs Went into Effect on September 1


The incandescent light bulb, in use for more than a century, will be officially banned across the European Union on September 1. Over the past three years, the EU has been phasing out 60-watt and 100-watt incandescent bulbs, and on Saturday retailers will no longer be allowed to sell 40-watt and 25-watt bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs will be replaced with compact fluorescent lights, halogen bulbs, and LED, or light-emitting diode, lights. The move is expected to save 39 terawatt-hours of electricity across the EU annually by 2020.

Some consumers have complained about the quality and expense of the new light bulbs, but lighting industry executives say that prices are coming down steadily and the quality of light from the new bulbs is good. “The phase-out has been very smooth,” said Peter Hunt, joint chief executive of the UK’s Lighting Industry association. “Concerns about poor performance of replacement bulbs have been proved wrong.”

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.


  1. Re “The move is expected to save 39 terawatt-hours of electricity across the EU annually by 2020.”

    Funny how these kind of announcemants are always accompanied by some huge, unsubstantiated figure covering a multitude of years…

    Energy saving is not the only reason to choose a light bulb you want to use!

    Besides, whatever the Household savings- it is Society savings that might be relevant to legislators, not “what light bulb Johnny uses in his bedroom”!

    As it happens, the society savings are next-to-nothing,:

    Small Society Savings

    Cambridge university Network, Scientific Alliance:

    ” The total reduction in EU energy use 0.54 x 0.8 x 0.76% = 0.33%

    This figure is almost certainly an overestimate…

    Which begs the question: is it really worth it?

    The problem is that legislators are unable to tackle the big issues of

    energy use effectively, so go for the soft target of a high profile

    domestic use of energy …this is gesture politics.”

    Cambridge University Network under Sir Alec Broers, Chairman of the

    House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the Scientific

    Alliance newsletter, involving Physics dept professors etc

    Similar figures from other EU sources, and for that matter the US Dept

    of Energy, grid electricity data breakdown (they use 4 categories),

    again as linked.above.

    Also, the fact that surplus electricity production at night (eg from coal) means that it does not matter much what bulb you use at such times of low demand,

    also the fact of major manufacturers with new patents seeking and welcoming a ban on patent expired “generic” cheap bulbs etc – as referenced and linked via the same site…