Belfast Telegraph

Lights go out for the 60 watt bulb

By John Mulgrew

Old-style light bulbs used to brighten homes across Northern Ireland for decades are to go, according to new EU rules.

Production of the traditional 60 watt bulb has now been banned, with lower wattage bulbs soon to follow.

Businesses will still be able to sell the incandescent bulbs they have in stock, but once gone they will have to stock new-style energy saving bulbs only.

With the majority of consumers already making the switch to significantly more energy efficient, compact florescent lamps, those behind the times will soon be forced to join the green bandwagon.

It is believed 40 watt varieties and lower wattage bulbs will be phased out in 2012.

In 2009 the EU banned the more powerful 100 watt traditional bulbs. But this decision comes after the Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to ban the incandescent light bulb.

The legislation, which came into effect in January 2009 banned all sales of the older bulbs to try to save tens of millions of euros in energy bills.

New, energy saving bulbs such as CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) are now one of the most common choices for UK consumers.

Typically CFL energy efficient bulbs use around one fifth of the consumption compared with the traditional filament style bulbs. They also have a much longer shelf life, lasting around six to 10 times longer.

However critics say the light emitted from the greener variety does not compare with the old-style.

They say the bulbs are gloomy and can trigger headaches in people with light sensitivity disorders.

The other option is the new kid on the block - LEDs (light emitting diodes). These have been around for some time but are now increasing in popularity in the home.

They last longer than CFLs and use even less electricity. They are also available in a range of colours and wattages.

Meanwhile, some groups are calling for the ban to be overturned.

The Spectrum Alliance, which represents health charities believes that around 2 million people in the UK could be adversely affected by energy efficient bulbs, which emit ultraviolet light.

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