Europe Goes Green as Incandescent Light Bulbs are Phased Out

European consumers are switching to green products as a result of the EU ban on incandescent lamps. According to the GfK market research company, sales of traditional light bulbs fell by up to 35 percent in the first quarter of 2009 in a number of European countries. Increases in purchases of regular light bulbs are a regional phenomenon, particularly in Germany and Austria. "The big trend is energy efficiency.

Green products account for 65 percent of our sales nowadays and we aim to raise this figure still further to 80 percent in the coming years", explains Martin Goetzeler, CEO of Osram. "Internationally speaking, we're at the forefront of technological change which will be given a further boost by the EU decision. The incandescent lamp, on the other hand, has only played a minor role in our business for many years." The EU ban will come into force in stages by 2016. The first step will see the phase-out, as from September 1st, of the 100 Watt bulb, one of the biggest energy wasters, in addition to frosted-glass light bulbs.

Osram feels it has a duty as a manufacturer to provide the consumer with some guidance on the EU decision and the alternative products. Such alternatives include halogen and energy-saving lamps in various shapes, wattages and colors. "Our recommendation as from September 1st is therefore to change to energy-saving products. This way the consumer will save up to 250 euros throughout the product life as well as protecting the environment", according to Goetzeler. As a leading lighting manufacturer, Osram has the world's largest product range with a focus on energy efficiency and light quality.

Halogen lamps are almost identical to incandescent light bulbs, are 30 percent more efficient and fit into standard household light sockets. Even more efficient are energy-saving lamps with savings of up to 80 percent. The scepticism surrounding the technology stems mainly from the early days of the energysaving lamp - after all, the invention is over 20 years old. Osram has in the meantime made significant technological progress and is now able to offer the consumer an alternative this summer with the new "warm comfort light" which can hardly be distinguished from the light of a traditional light bulb. The trend towards LED light sources will also grow stronger. Light-emitting diodes open up new opportunities for lighting applications, especially thanks to their small dimensions, energy efficiency and long service life.

A recent study by Osram and Siemens Corporate Technology proves that light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are just as environmentally friendly as energy-saving lamps and have considerably less impact on the environment than traditional light bulbs. According to the study, the latest generation of LED lamps uses more than 98 percent of the total energy used during its service life and only less than two percent during their manufacture. Similar results have been achieved with energy-saving lamps. The latest generation of LED lamps from Osram has a service life of 25,000 hours with a rating of eight watts. To achieve the same lamp life with traditional light bulbs would require twenty-five 40-watt bulbs, each with an average life of 1,000 hours. Some 3,300 kilowatt hours (kWh) of primary energy are required for the manufacture and service life of the incandescent light bulbs, which will be phased out gradually as from September 2009. The LEDs require only 700 kWh.

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