The end of halogen lamps: "Prohibition forces more responsible choices"

The production of halogen lamps is over and from today only products can be sold in stock. The increased energy efficiency of LED technology has led the European Union to ban a product that has been in stores for six decades. The next step is also to end with compact fluorescent lamps.

What is the end of the halogen lamps?
Halogen lamps have gradually been withdrawn from the market and this phase was planned two years ago. It is only afterwards that the various countries, even under pressure from some companies in the sector, have passed the end of production and commercialization from 1 September 2016 to 1 September 2018, although the remaining shares may still be sold. When I say that this is a progressive process, it is because we are talking about the lamps that represent the largest part of the market, the omnidirectionals, the size of which is more than what we know of the old light bulbs. Those outbreaks in many places had already left the market. Now we are talking about the lamps, that is what is going on now.

Why do these changes happen?
There is an area of ​​action in the European Union that focuses on eco-design and energy labeling and in this area there are a number of products, such as devices or lamps that have been successively forced to adapt, with the aim of reducing energy consumption, among other factors. There are different lines, but energy efficiency is the most important flag. This kind of ban introduced by the EU is a very effective way of achieving results because it is simply no longer possible to acquire the products.

Is it prohibiting the best way to encourage consumers to take action?
Yes and no. There are a few holes. It is a yes because the ban forces consumers to make stronger and more ecologically responsible choices. If I now say that there are some gaps, it is because the choice also involves some literacy. The problem with halogen lamps is to use 6.6 times more and 7.5 times less. The best demonstration that the information does not reach the consumer is that we had to come to the ban to ensure that the measure was effective.

Are the Portuguese already aware of this reality?
I would say no. Often the choices we make, many products that have the corresponding energy label – such as washing machines or dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, lamps, televisions, among other things – are not done in a weighed way. And then there are small things in terms of consumer information that are vital. What should they do, for example, with the halogen lamps that they have.

And what has to be done?
There is a simple recommendation: the bulbs that consume the most should sit in places that are less used. It makes the difference. Then there is always a return effect that is crucial to being thwarted. In the case of cars it is known – I had a car that consumes a lot, I change into a car that consumes little and I start to walk more – and that of lighting also happens. It is desirable that people also counter this trend. Proper behavior in lighting management should continue, even if you will make a profit in terms of consumption.

Will the measure be extended to other markets after the EU? Is there a risk that people will start buying cheaper halogen lamps via the internet?
Global expansion is not foreseen, but it is enough for people to do mathematics to realize that it does not pay. The calculations made by colleagues from other environmental associations in Europe, which values ​​on sites such as [de compras online] eBay, show this. There are no more halogen lamps, the price of which, given the durability in question, compensates for this online purchase on the non-European market.

And as far as the production process is concerned, are LED lamps also greener? Or is it on the side of the waste saving that the profit is made?
In the production there is no real gain compared to halogen, but it exists in relation to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), because they cause a number of problems due to the presence of mercury, although extremely small. In the waste we are talking about a saving that has to do with the duration of the product, which is almost eight times larger (15,000 hours instead of 2000).

When are the final results of halogen lamps visible? Are there further steps to be taken?
The change is already visible, because all of this is already part of a transition, but I do not think that we will have less consumption from day to day. There are many consumers who have made the switch to CFL in the course of time and will do so for the LEDs. There is already a concept that points to the end of the compact fluorescence in 2020.


As a professor in the field of the environment of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the new University of Lisbon, he attended the most important conferences of the United Nations on climate change and sustainable development. At ZERO it follows the areas of climate change, energy and mobility

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