The end of incandescent light bulbs | Part 1 |

The most wasteful and polluting bulbs are removed progressively until 2016. As of September the 1st, the classic incandescent bulbs will no longer be manufactured or imported into the European Union (EU). And will not be the only ones. Its manufacturing will continue until September 2016 with the phasing out of the other models which waste more energy to be substituted by more efficient models.


The Community institutions responsible for this measure, intends to reduce high energy consumption for lighting and  its environmental impact, and incidentally save up to 10,000 million Euros per year, up to 50 Euros per household.


In this article I will outline the models bulbs which no longer can be manufactured, explains why they are withdraw and specify the most efficient models which will replace them.


First thing first. What are they?

The incandescent light bulb or lamp is a source of electric light that works by incandescence, which is the emission of light caused by heating a filament. They are made in an extremely wide range of sizes, wattages, and voltages.


Where did they come from?

Incandescent bulbs are the original form of electric lighting and have been in use for over 130 years. While Thomas Edison is widely considered to be the inventor of the incandescent bulb, there are a number of people who invented components and prototypes of the light bulb well before Edison did. One of those people was British physicist Joseph Wilson Swan, who actually received the first patent for a complete incandescent light bulb with a carbon filament in 1879. Swan’s house was the first in the world to be lit by a light bulb. Edison and Swan merged their companies and together they were the first to design a bulb that was commercially viable.


How do they work?

An incandescent bulb typically consists of a glass enclosure containing a tungsten filament. An electric current passes through the filament, heating it to a temperature that produces light. Incandescent light bulbs usually contain a stem or glass mount attached to the bulb's base which allows the electrical contacts to run through the envelope without gas/air leaks. Small wires embedded in the stem support the filament and/or its lead wires. The enclosing glass enclosure contains either a vacuum or an inert gas to preserve and protect the filament from evaporating.


Models of bulbs that can no longer be manufactured.

From September 1st. no longer will be allowed to manufacture or import incandescent bulbs in any EU country. The move is a result of energy efficiency Ecodesign directive 2009/125 / EC of the European Parliament.


Replacing all incandescent bulbs will save the EU up to 10,000 million Euros a year.


The legislation was gradually introduced in 2009. Each September 1st, disappears a different type. The first bulbs were removed models 100 watts (W); in 2010 75 W; Last year the 60 W (one of the models most used in Spain by the company Philips); and finally has reached the turn this year to the 40 W and 25 W.


European legislation requires from September 2009 to all non-transparent lamps to be Class A according to the requirements of the European energy label. Incandescent have been the first to disappear as the most wasteful, but not unique. Clear halogen lamps 950 lumens (lm) and halogen non-transparent (except efficiency A) were outside the market also from 1 September 2009. The following year fell clear halogen 725 lm, in 2011 450 lm and this coming September 1 of 60 lm.


The timetable for withdrawal all models that fail class A will continue until September 1st, 2016.


 In 2013 it couldn't be manufactured or imported any halogen energy class D or E, and finally in 2016, will be the turn of the Halogen class C, although, some filament lamps will not deleted such as reflectors and with a special applications.


This regulation does not mean that consumers have at home these models are forced to withdraw them, but when they need to be replaced or when buying these models, new bulbs will no longer be available.


Why are they withdrawn?

Incandescent bulbs wasted much energy and last little time. It is estimated that only 5% of the energy consumed by a 100 W incandescent bulb results in light (95% is wasted in heat). Besides, its life is estimated at one thousand hours, or in other words, means more consumption of natural resources and generation of waste must be recycled properly to avoid contaminating the environment.


This European regulation ends therefore with 136 years of history: Thomas Alva Edison invented the incandescent light bulb on October 21, 1879.


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