Lights out for old-style Edison bulb on Saturday

It will be lights out for the incandescent bulb from Saturday as the EU calls time on the time-honoured light source.

From Sept 1, the 40W incandescent light bulb, pictured below, will be banned, finally going the way of the already phased-out 100W and 60W, which have been banned in the past four years.

As part of an EU directive, traditional light bulbs will be replaced by more energy-efficient types — halogen bulbs, which are 30% more energy-efficient, and the CFL long-life bulbs, which are 80% more energy-efficient.

The move has not been without controversy, with many cash-strapped consumers arguing that incandescent light bulbs are brighter and cheaper than the energy-efficient variety.

The most familiar light bulbs to Irish eyes are manufactured by Solus. The Irish-owned company has been in existence for over 80 years and this month ceased manufacturing incandescent bulbs.

According to David Reynolds of Solus, the EU directives cover manufacturers and not consumers, meaning that whatever stocks are left can be sold through shops. Solus is now manufacturing the energy-efficient type of bulb. However, it is also determined to educate the public to the changes.

“It’s going to be a big change for people. Saturday will be the last day for all incandescent light bulbs, the Thomas Edison version, if you like. Incandescent light bulbs currently make up about 60% of the market and obviously that’s going to have to change,” he said.

Mr Reynolds admitted that, while consumers might find the changes confusing, ultimately, the new bulbs will be cheaper.

“It’s a transitional period. People are starting to educate themselves and read up on the changes. As an Irish company, we are committed to not only investing in the technology, but also feel we have an obligation to inform people of the changes that are coming,” he said.

Solus is now making halogen and CFL bulbs. It is expected the halogen bulbs will be the type gradually appearing in more and more Irish homes.

“They are quite similar in terms of shape and size. Certainly, they will cost more but people need to remember they offer 30% more efficiency and they last around twice as long, so people are getting a return from the investment in terms of energy efficiency and what they pay for the electricity,” said Mr Reynolds.

The CFL bulbs are likely to be less popular as they are more expensive than the halogen version and are not compatible with all household fittings.

Solus has also pointed out that it is important for consumers to note that the wattages on the newer bulbs does not match those of the incandescent variety. For example, a 60W bulb is a 42W halogen bulb, a 75W bulb is a 52W halogen bulb and a 100W bulb is a 70W halogen bulb. While some British manufacturers are exploiting a loophole in the directives which allows companies to produce incandescent bulbs for industrial use, Solus pointed out that this anomaly is likely to be closed in time.

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