Premium Light Pro

Small businesses and the bulb phase-out

As the final stage of European Union directive EC 244/2009, halogen lightbulbs will no longer be allowed to enter the market. The ban came into place on 1 September 2018. The EU directive has gradually banned less efficient lighting from the European market in an effort to reduce lighting energy consumption.

Halogen bulbs that are already on the market can still be purchased by consumers, but retailers are unable to purchase new stock. Premium Light Pro recommends replacing halogens with LED bulbs for best results. LED technology is better than ever and is (in most cases) available for any light fitting in your premises that previously held a halogen bulb.

The savings shifting to LED offers are significant in terms of both energy and money. When replacing a 100W traditional bulb, a 77W halogen costs £11 a year to use, while a CFL costs £3 a year and a 14W LED costs only £2 a year. While CFL seems comparably cheap with LED, they have half the life expectancy. Halogens can be used for around 2000 hours or 2 years, while LEDs last for 25,000 hours or more, equating to 15-20 years of use. Around 90% of the energy produced from incandescent bulbs is in the form of heat rather than light, making them hugely inefficient. LEDs consume a fifth of the energy of halogen bulbs. The phase out of halogen bulbs will save over 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, an amount equivalent to Portugal’s annual electricity usage, according to the European Commission.

All of these energy savings and a longer product lifetime translate to monetary savings of up to £112 a year for consumers, according to Philips the lighting manufacturer. Businesses using traditional-style halogen bulbs, including hotels, restaurants and offices could save even more. An LED bulb may be costlier upfront, but it will pay for itself within a year.

Replacing all of your light fittings at once with LEDs could be an expensive venture, so it’s OK to do it gradually, as and when your old bulbs fail. Remember that the colour of light can be important to your business, and that the days of LED only offering stark bright light are over. A range of colour temperatures exist; cool white light is around 4000K, while 2700K is a warmer white/yellow light. There are also dimmable options.

Also important to note is the variety in quality of bulbs on the market. If you simply go for the cheapest option, you are likely to get what you pay for, and the bulb may not last as long as a slightly more expensive option. In most cases you will be able to replace a mains voltage halogen bulb with an LED. There could be an issue with replacing some halogen downlights directly with LEDs, as without an LED-specific driver, flicker can occur. In this case seek advice from your electrician.

Premium Light Pro has produced a set of procurement criteria for new LED installations, advising on aspects such as energy efficiency, colour rendering and energy consumption per room size for different applications – if you’re looking to make the switch, have a read of these to ensure you are getting a quality, efficient product.