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Brussels: Old-school lightbulbs to be gone by 2012

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The European Commission has adopted new regulations which will see ordinary incandescent lightbulbs phased out across Europe. Users will be able to choose in future from fluorescent lamps, including energy-saving "bulbs", and more-efficient halogen incandescents.

"These groundbreaking measures respond to the request of the 2007 Spring European Council to the Commission (confirmed by the European Parliament) to address the efficiency of lighting products both in the domestic and tertiary sectors by 2009.

"By replacing last century lighting products by more performant technologies, European homes, buildings and streets will keep the same quality of lighting, while saving energy, CO2 and money", said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

According to the Commission:

Households will still have the choice between long-life compact fluorescent lamps that currently yield the highest energy savings (up to 75% less energy than incandescent lamps), or efficient incandescent lamps (of the halogen type) fully equivalent to conventional bulbs in terms of light quality, providing between 25% and 50% energy savings.

Depending on the number of lamps installed, an average household switching from conventional bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps could make net savings (taking into account higher purchasing price of the lamps) between 25 and 50 € a year on their electricity bill.

The lighting efficiency measures have already been approved by the member states and the European Parliament, so yesterday's adoption by the Commission is the final step into formal regulation.

Old-style incandescent bulbs, according to the Commission, will start to disappear from the European market this year and will be totally gone by the end of 2012.

The EC estimates that reduced use of electric power for lighting across Europe will save "close to 80" terawatt-hours by the year 2020. That's a trifle less than three per cent of a single year's UK energy consumption.

The new measures "deliver a clear message about the EU's commitment to reach its energy efficiency and climate protection targets," according to Commissioner Piebalgs. ®

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