Genus LED

Apr 13, 2022

Brandenburg UK Insect Light Traps Moving from Fluorescent to Led Technology

More and more conversations are forming about the banning of fluorescent bulbs sales that could be banned in South Africa, and the move towards LED technology.

The draft of new regulations for light bulbs in South Africa could effectively ban most fluorescent lamps, which have been popular for many decades.

The new lighting regulations that was gazetted in March 2021, introduced new safety specifications for various light bulbs, including filament and halogen lamps. Fluorescent light bulbs are also required to comply with new safety specifications set out in the new regulations.

The new regulations are aimed at improving the safety, performance and energy efficiency of lightbulbs by phasing out inefficient and environmentally harmful lighting products.
Fluorescent light comes from a chemical reaction inside a glass tube – and most use mercury to create that reaction. Mercury is known to be highly poisonous.

Mercury is extremely harmful to the environment, and in turn harms the health of people living in those environments if accidentally broken or not disposed of safely. Exposure to mercury can lead to long-term and sometimes permanent neurological and behavioural disorders.

According to the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), there is no explicit ban on mercury in the new requirements. However, the new regulations specifies how much light a lightbulb must supply: a minimum of 90 lumens per watt (lm/watt). Typically, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs, or fluorescent lightbulbs) produce between 40 lm/watt and 70 lm/watt

As most CFLs do not currently meet the specifications, so it is “more likely” that LEDs will become the lamp of choice.

That may not be a bad thing.

LED light bulbs last up to 5 times longer than traditional halogen light bulbs, produce the same amount of light, but use significantly less power (saving up to 80% in electricity costs!)

If the new regulations become law, lighting products which do not meet the specifications will be removed from the market.

However, it is not the mercury content of CFLs that will block them from being sold in South Africa but their power efficiency.

South Africans still make wide use of old and outdated UV lighting technology, which is known to be far less energy efficient than modern lighting products such as LEDs.

In addition to the environmental concerns over the mercury content in CFLs, SANEDI pointed to a cost-benefit analysis by Nova Economics which found that energy saving light bulbs are no longer the most power efficient option.

Nova Economics found that even though a single electric lamp does not consume a large quantity of electricity, the average household has about 15 lamps, which collectively accounts for a significant amount of electricity use during peak consumption periods, when the electricity grid is most vulnerable.

Nova Economics said that a transition to higher efficiency light bulbs that produce the same light while using much less electricity will provide an opportunity to both reduce strain on the national grid and save on the electric bills of households.

With a simple example, Nova Economics showed that in the highest-selling brightness category, a 70W BC Eco Halogen lamp accounted for 52% of sales, cost R20, but it is one of the most expensive to operate at around R1,500 in electricity and replacement lamp costs over a typical 5-year (7 000-hour) period.

But using the same company’s LED lamp with the same light output will cost R35 to purchase, and won’t need to be replaced because of its long lifetime, and will only cost R178 in electricity bills over the same 5-year or 7,000-hour period. Thus, R1,520 for halogen versus R213 for LED. Clearly, halogen is over 7 times more expensive than LED on a lifecycle cost basis.

SANEDI has set out a two-phased roll-out of the draft regulations for the new light bulb specifications.

During the first phase, the minimum luminous efficacy of light bulbs will be set to 90 lumens per watt, effectively banning the sale of most of the energy saver CFLs currently on the market. Phase one will last for three years and will start one year after the final notice announcing the new regulations is published.

During the second phase, the minimum luminous efficacy of light bulbs will be set to 105 lumens per watt. Phase two will start three years after the final notice is published.

To conclude, Brandenburg UK has confirmed that in the UK and Europe the manufacture of fluorescent bulbs (T8 & CFL) will be banned from September 2023. Although specialist lamps such as UVa lamps are exempt from the ban, while many lamp manufacturers have already started phasing out the production of certain types of fluorescent bulbs in anticipation of the ban. This will lead to fewer and fewer lamp manufacturers continuing to make fluorescent lamps, driving prices up as production (and demand) reduces.

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