The low energy light bulb (or compact fluorescent to be more accurate) has been given pretty rough treatment by the public since it became available a few years ago. Yes, it is fair to say that the early versions were fairly poor in terms of warm up times, so the early poor press was probably deserved. They are however much better now and provide good levels of instant light. They are also one of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce energy use in the home and make a much bigger impact on energy-saving than most people realise – I highlighted this in an earlier blog.
Unfortunately the press (the Daily Mail in particular) have done such an effective hatchet job on them that they will probably never make the level of contribution that they should in the domestic market. However there is now a ‘young pretender’ on the block – LED lighting. In reality it has been around for some time and we have become used to great little torches and the like using this technology. But now it is beginning to break into the domestic and commercial market as costs start to fall – and its energy usage is equally low.
And now to help move this forward the European Commission has launched a green paper and public consultation on the future of LED-based lighting. Part of the reason behind this is that the European Union completes its phasing out of traditional light bulb sales in September 2012, and in the next few years about eight billion incandescent lamps in European homes, offices and streets will need to be replaced by more energy-efficient lighting solutions (unless Daily Mail readers get their way!).
These include LED and organic LED (or OLED) lighting technologies, also known as solid state lighting (SSL). It is predicted that faster LED deployment will help reduce energy use from lighting by 20 per cent by 2020, but there are market challenges;
- High purchase prices – compared to traditional sources
- Lack of familiarity among potential users – a real ‘catch 22’
- A lack of common standards
The key questions from the consultation include;
What would help to overcome existing barriers and accelerate LED deployment in Europe?
How can it be ensured that LED products on the European market are good quality, safe and meet consumer expectations?
How can co-operation be reinforced between the lighting sector and architects, lighting designers, electrical installers and the construction and building sectors?
How can the EU best support entrepreneurship and competitiveness in the lighting sector?
The consultation runs until 29 February 2012 and can be found here.