31 August 2009

No more tungsten bulbs

At last the end of the tungsten bulb is close - from Sept 1st, shops will not be able to order new stocks of 100w incandescent and all types of frosted light bulbs. The rest are being phased out over the next two years. OK, so there are problems with some of the cheap low E bulbs as they are not as bright, but the latest ones have a brighter, whiter light and can be dimmed. Also once there is momentum and money coming in, the manufacturers of these bulbs with be able to put more R and D into even better ones, such as the LED light bulbs.

So why make the switch? Firstly it saves you money as each bulb uses a quarter of the electricity and lasts up to 20 times longer, so replace a 150w traditional bulb with one of the latest low energy bulbs and you could save as much as £20 / year as well as reducing your carbon dioxide output by half a ton. The switch saves resources too. Think of all the glass and metal that goes into making 20 tungsten bulbs compared with one low energy bulb.

Find out more about the pros and cons of the different low energy light bulbs here: http://www.ableduk.com/alternatives.html


  1. Sally - what you and the rest of the Eco-fanatics have failed to account for is the long term environmental damage that these energy saving bulbs will cause. They contain small amounts of Mercury as well as other carcinogenic substances - unless councils provide specialist recycling facilities (and advertise the fact) these bulbs will end up in land fills in the next 20 years. Now where is the cost saving in that - either we pay for the clean up or we pay more in council tax for the disposal.

    In all your calculations on energy saving you have not taken into account that the new bulbs are more complicated to make and contain more material (and so consume more resources) than the old bulbs (about 10 times the material hence the increased weight, which some what undermines your 20 for 1 argument). They needed new factories that consume more energy (because they are more specialist). The production methods produce more pollution than with the old tungsten bulbs.

    If you want a greener cleaner light source you should be looking at LCD lights - not energy saving bulbs (which should be phased out as a matter of urgency).

    Thank you and blessing for more transparency.

  2. Father Brown makes a good point and its something I shall include when writing on this subject. Mind you the best way forward is to switch of all many lights as possible when not in use. It would also be good to see office buildings & factories switching off all their lights at night to reduce light pollution. I may live in the countryside but nearby is an office building with a carpark that is floodlit all night long!