OPINION
‘Customers need affordable alternatives, but the performance must be the same’

Neil McLean, strategic business unit leader at Havells-Sylvania’s halogen division, welcomes the phase-out of poorly performing halogen lamps – with some provisos

Neil McLean

At present there is no doubt that the lighting industry is under the microscope, as the recent announcement on halogen lamps demonstrates.

In short, following the ban on incandescent lamps, legislation is being drafted to phase out poorly performing reflector lamps, including the lower end halogen reflectors. Perhaps inevitably, this announcement has been taken by some to mean that a whole lamp type is to be phased out. However, this is simply not the case.

The emphasis is on ‘poorly performing’ lamps, and anyone concerned about achieving energy efficiency targets and giving consumers efficient andaffordable ‘green’ light sources will welcome this initiative.

The confusion has arisen from a misunderstanding in the table where it states that Stage 2 in 2014 will complete the phase-out started in Stage 1, which now applies to lamps with low lumen outputs.

What isn’t made clear is that this pertains to only those low lumen output lamps that have exceeded the maximum energy-efficiency index of 0.95. Therefore, even after the Stage 3 phase comes into force in 2016, those that do not exceed 0.95 – for example higher performance MR16 lamps – can continue to be sold as long as they meet the minimum life requirement of 4,000 hours.

Timetable for the ban

We expect the legislation to be published in the official journal of the EU around September 2012 and the first effects will come into force one year later (Stage 1: September 2013).

From this we expect that between 2013 and 2016, the European Commission will phase out the poorly performing (and least efficient) low voltage halogen lamp types. There is no forced end-date for the most environmentally and energy-efficient halogen refflector lamps.

In line with previous legislative protocols of this sort, a stepwise approach will be taken which means the process starts with the poorest performing lamps, and proceeds until only the best lamps can remain. There will be a review of the directive in 2015 to ensure the toughest requirements planned for 2016 are workable and realistic.

Needs of the markets

We, as members of the ELC, are still lobbying for final modifications to the legislation to ensure that it is effective, realistic and workable in terms of ensuring the needs of markets are met (with regard cost and performance) – and manufacturers can keep up.

Havells-Sylvania supports the EU targets of a 20 per cent energy reduction by 2020 and recognises that, as part of the lighting industry, we can contribute by not only supporting legislative measures, but also by providing a portfolio of innovative, market-leading, energy-efficient productsin LED, CFL and top-performing halogen.

Take, for example, our EcoPlus range, which can replace standard halogen lamps, giving users huge cost of ownership savings through energy savings of up to 40 per cent and lifetime increases of up to 60per cent – all with no compromise in light quality or functionality.

The market should have a choice of efficient lamps,but any legislative measures must also take into account affordability and accessibility. Frankly, there is no point in outlawing existing lamp types without first providing consumers with affordable choices that are genuinely compatible with existing fittings.

LED technology is in its infancy and there are still advances to be made to develop truly compatible light sources to suit existing luminaires. Until that time, it is imperative that the market is provided withchoices in technologies, performance and, of course, cost.

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