It’s time to educate
Over the next few years, European directives will have significant impact on manufacturers, wholesalers and the electrical industry as a whole. Most new regulations are linked to the phasing out, over the next six years, of incandescent and halogen forms of lighting.
If some of the more sensational claims in the national press are to be believed, these new lighting regulations will mean the death of the faithful old GLS filament lamp (true), cause cancer (not proved and highly unlikely) or cost you more than they save (untrue).
Such dramatic headlines sell newspapers, feed on the public’s dislike of change, and do absolutely nothing to help re-educate the consumer.
What the new directives actually mean for consumers is that they should aim to acquire an understanding of how light and energy consumption are measured; right now, all the general public understands is that the higher the wattage on lamp, the more light it will give out and for some, the more energy it will consume.
So what are these new regulations and what do the mean to the average person in the street?
The first change is to show the lamp’s energy efficiency rating. Anyone who has bought a new electrical appliance in the last few years will be aware of the A to G rating system with A in green being the most efficient and G in red being the least. It’s an at-a-glance code for a basic understanding of how energy efficient the product is. By extending this system to cover lighting products and lamps, the purchase of a compact fluorescent (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) lamp, the energy efficiency of these lamps over an incandescent (GLS) will be all too obvious.
You have probably already discovered that many people can’t easily understand how a 60W incandescent lamp and a 13W compact fluorescent or a 10W LED have the capability of delivering similar lighting levels. Well, the truth is that wattage really isn’t a good indicator of light output and is largely irrelevant. Watts are a unit to measure energy and, in the case of lamps, the energy consumed.
So, to measure the total light output we need to understand about Lumens (Lm), which is also covered by the European directives. To assist in the transition to understanding light output, every lamp (or integrated fitting) should soon have the amount of Lumens printed on the packaging.
This means that everyone will be able to see just how much light is produced as well as the amount of power consumed while running it.
But can it be that simple? Light output will be shown in Lumens, along with the power in Watts and a nice easy A-G scale on the box. Will this really encourage the use of low energy lighting products?
Low energy benefits
I spend lots of time explaining the benefits of low energy sources over older technologies. While a low energy lighting product costs more to buy, it uses far less energy and lasts many times longer than older incandescent products. Agreed, the cost comes all at once as an initial outlay, but consider for example, a hotel’s maintenance labour cost alone in continually changing lamps in bedrooms and amenity areas.
Typically, a halogen lamp lasts up to 3,000 hours but a CFL lasts for 8-10,000 hours and an LED light source up to 30, 000 hours. At the same time, LEDs and CFLs make considerable energy savings and the Return on Investment can be measured.
New technologies can provide the same quality of light, colour of light and light output.
Of course there are still sceptics that just won’t accept the facts unless you show them the potential savings on an energy calculator. There are many of these tools available on the internet which are simple to use and it only takes a couple of minutes for you to be able to easily demonstrate the long term savings of low energy products against traditional light sources. Aurora has developed its own that you can find on the website.