Thursday, 5 April 2007

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Recent news about a possibly-EU-wide regulation about the use of energy efficient light bulbs has generated some consternation among our diligent but search-incapable petitioners.

The first thing I did upon noticing so was to look for actual news reports on what the actual regulations were or were going to be. This proved remarkably difficult; oblique references on the BBC site were singularly uninformative.

I can, in fact, find only two articles online on the subject: one from the Independent and one from the Scotsman. Both articles agree that a group of EU leaders had "called" for the phasing out of incandescent bulbs in favour of energy-saving bulbs - though there is not description of the official nature of this "call". A BBC Magazine article mentions "plans" to phase them out "by 2011", but again, does not describe the legislation thus involved.

All the same, this apparent absence of officialness has not stopped our petitioners.

We have a range of petitions demanding that the plans be stopped:

Now to be fair to these petitioners, they are asking for marginally different things for marginally different reasons. Ish.

Then we have two counter-petitiono, entitled Ban the sale of non-efficient light bulbs in the UK and entitled Ban non-energy efficient light bulbs, plus a related one, entitled Ban the sale of light fitting which cannot accept low energy light bulbs which would have, in the long term, much the same effect.

And finally we have two more government-specific ones on a related topic: entitled legislate for local authorities and housing associations to provide at least one energy efficient lightbulb to its tenents and entitled Make ALL councils change street light bulbs to energy efficient ones, so that they are also doing their bit for the environment, without charging us extra for the privilege!

I'm by no means convinced of the rights and wrongs of the case. On the one hand, energy efficient bulbs are good, and for general lighting I wouldn't use anything else. On the other hand there are more specific usages - I have a very nice angle-poise-style light which is quite recent and won't take CFL bulbs; it would be a shame to have to throw that out in a couple of years, and wouldn't be terribly energy-efficient, or environmentally friendly, either! My mother says, too, that with her not-great eyesight for close work CFLs just don't output good light for needlework and so on, yet. They may do in the future, great strides are being made, and indeed there are possibilities for LED bulbs in that way as well, I think - but they're not quite up to scratch yet and little old (and middle-aged) ladies all over Europe are going to be put out by this, by the look of things.

But mostly I'm pissed off by people's inability to search, dammit!


uber said...

The use of LEDs over traditional filament bulbs has revolutionised parts of my life - but if people want to stick with the traditional kinds of bulb then that's a matter for them, and I won't lose any sleep over it. But the idea that such a finely differentiated variety of partisan takes on the subject all demand a petition of their own beggars belief.

Tim said...

As physicist, I'm surprised you didn't comment on the power factor issues of energy efficient light bulbs.

They have an inductive load, as well as a resistive load and this causes hassles for the electricity companies.

Also, it is a waste of time to use energy efficient light bulbs in buildings that are electrically heated.