At today's meeting of the Ecodesign Regulatory Committee, EU Member States experts endorsed the European Commission's proposals for a regulation progressively phasing out incandescent bulbs starting in 2009 and finishing at the end of 2012.
By enforcing the regulation of switching to energy saving bulbs, EU citizens will save close to 40 TWh (roughly the electrictity consumption of Romania, or of 11 million European households, or the equivalent of the yearly output of 10 power stations of 500 megawatts) and will lead to a reduction of about 15 million tons of CO2 emission per year.
"This groundbreaking measure delivers a clear message about the EU's commitment to reach its energy efficiency and climate protection targets. By replacing last century lamps by more performant technologies, European homes will keep the same quality of lighting, while saving energy, CO2 and money", said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The regulation targets lamps typically used in households (in particular incandescent lamps, halogen lamps and compact fluorescent lamps) by setting minimum energy efficiency and functionality requirements.
The regulation takes into account consumer expectations in terms of aesthetics, functionality and health concerns. It progressively removes incandescent bulbs from the market in a way that allows manufacturers to adapt their production.
Consumers 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 halogen lamps that are fully equivalent to incandescent 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 incandescent 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. This means that 5 to 10bn€ will be reinjected every year into the EU economy.
The regulation will now be scrutinised by the European Parliament. It is scheduled for formal adoption by the Commission in March 2009. The regulation is only one of the Eco-design measures that will be adopted by the Commission over the coming months, targeting many more products such as consumer electronics, white goods or heating appliances.
Further information on Ecodesign is available here.