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European consumers prefer inefficient halogens over energy savers, so group says ban them ASAP

Hail halogen: Halogen lamps are far less efficient then energy savers like CFLs and LEDs, yet they are Europeans' first choice, a new report points out.

Europeans some time ago started replacing their inefficient incandescent lamps with ‘energy saver’ compact fluorescent models, right? Wrong! They’ve been turning to halogens instead, a practice that has so outraged a group of governments and campaigners that they are imploring the EC to drop its proposed delay on banning halogens.

Halogens, a type of incandescent lamp, are a little more efficient than conventional incandescents, but far less energy efficient than CFLs and their newer rival, LED lamps, both of which require only about 10-to-30 percent of the electricity of incandescents, depending on the model.

And with LED prices having dropped and efficiency improved faster than expected when the EC first proposed pushing back the halogen ban from 2016 to 2018, the group has three words for the delay: Forget about it!

The four-member group including the Swedish and Belgian governments has published a new ‘Test Report’ focusing on clear, non-directional (general lighting as opposed to spot lighting) LED lamps, comparing their current and projected price and performance to earlier findings from a 2013 EC-commissioned report.

‘Approximately 50 percent of the LED lamps purchased and tested in 2014 for the new test study already exceed the projected 2016 price and performance levels in the June 2013 report, and one model available on the European market in 2014 already exceeds the anticipated 2018 level on efficacy (efficiency) and the 2020 level on price,’ said the Stockholm-based European Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ECEEE), a non-profit organisation and one of the four publishers of the report.

The reports other authors were the Swedish Energy Agency, the Belgian Ministry for Health, Food Chain Safety and the Environment, and a Washington D.C.-based group called CLASP, which pushes for energy efficiency standards and labeling (CLASP stands for Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program).

The rapid improvement of already highly efficient LEDs ‘sheds new light on the Commission’s proposal to delay the 2016 ban on general service halogen lamps,’ ECEEE said in a press release.

Adding urgency to the ban, the press release pointed out that Europeans generally have not been replacing conventional incandescents with CFLs – which have been widely available for years now – as assumed, but have instead been buying much less efficient halogens.

It cited a finding from the International Energy Agency, noting, ‘An updated IEA 4E benchmarking report shows that mains-voltage general service halogen lamps are being used as the primary replacement for incandescent lamps instead of CFLs, thus eroding much of the projected savings.’

Governments around the world are banning incandescent lamps in an effort to curtail CO2 emissions created by generating electricity to feed them.

The finding that LED lamps are advancing faster than anticipated echoes another recent report from the US Energy Information Administration showing that LED lamps are nudging further ahead of CFLs in energy efficiency and that they now average just under 100 lumens per watt, far above the incandescent avearge of 15 lm/W.

One paragraph in the Test Report by Sweden, Belgium, ECEEE and CLASP noted: ‘This study also found a wide range of average efficacy values for the clear LED lamps tested, ranging from 62.7 lumens per watt (about the same as a compact fluorescent lamp) to 121.4 lumens per watt – nearly twice as efficient as the lowest LED lamp. The halogen lamp’s average efficacy was 12.8 lm/W, meaning that for the same light output, it will consume ten times more electricity than the sample average of today’s best performing LED lamp. And, within the sample of ten LED lamps that averaged 121.4 lm/W, one unit had a measured efficacy of 131.5 lm/W.’

A story in The Guardian noted that the EC will vote on the proposed halogen ban delay early next year.

Photo is from Shutterstock