Help ban the bulb in Ireland

Posted by jamie - 21 November 2007 at 4:42pm - Comments

A compact fluorescent light bulb

Out of all the members of the EU, which do you think uses most energy on lighting? Could it be Germany, the big economic powerhouse? Or the Nordic countries, with their extended winter darkness? Or even this country, the "dirty old man of Europe"? No, it's Ireland, which is why we want to see the Irish government introduce a law setting tough energy efficiency standards on household lighting.

We're asking for your help - sign the petition below and tell John Gormley, the environment minister, to ban the bulb (and you don't have to live in Ireland to sign).

The Irish government has already recognised the need to phase out wasteful incandescent bulbs and has proposed an eco-tax to favour compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) over old-fashioned bulbs. That's all good, but the government could do so much better: by insisting on mandatory, ever-improving efficiency standards for household lighting, incandescents could be a thing of the past.

For instance, a minimum efficiency requirement for bulbs was 25 lumens per watt would be brilliant. 'Lumens per watt' is the standard method of measuring the amount of light given out by a bulb for each unit of electricity it uses - when you're talking about efficiency, the more lumens the better. Most incandescent bulbs hover around the 15 lumens per watt mark so a 25 lumens minimum would effectively ban these bulbs.

The UK government's voluntary phase-out will see bulbs with less than 30 lumens per watt gradually disappearing from major retailers, but the key word there is 'voluntary' - it's not a ban. So Ireland could indeed set a standard within the EU that others will follow. It looks like the UK could be following in her neighbour's footsteps on plastic bags; maybe it'll be the same with light bulbs.

Greenpeace's campaign to ban conventional bulbs in Ireland (and it's apiration to do the same in England) takes no account of the many people (tens if not hundreds of thousands in England alone) who are allergic to fluorescent light.
My daughter suffers from systemic LUPUS nephritis and low energy ie fluorescent bulbs cause her headaches, nausea, skin rashes and contribute to LUPUS flares which could result in major organ damage. Installation of low energy fluorescent lighting in any premises means she can no longer go there. Now you are pushing for a ban on the sale of domestic incandescent bulbs.
Is Greenpeace aware of the health issues related to fluorescent lighting and if so do you not care that your actions are likely to contribute to a severe impairment to the lives of people suffering from a range of auto-immune diseases?

We're definitely aware of this, and have been answering similar queries since the campaign began - see our this page for example which mentions incandescents on prescription as a possible answer. I know this won't solve the problem outside your home, but then most shops, offices and public buildings already use fluorescent lighting anyway.

But to go further, light-emitting diodes or LEDs are even more efficient than CFLs and (as far as I know) no one has reported any sensitivity to them, but they aren't currently available at a mass-market price. Research into improving LEDs is hampered by the availability of incandescents as companies have no incentive to make them better and cheaper, so a ban should help kick-start an LED revolution.

web editor
gpuk

Greenpeace's campaign to ban conventional bulbs in Ireland (and it's apiration to do the same in England) takes no account of the many people (tens if not hundreds of thousands in England alone) who are allergic to fluorescent light. My daughter suffers from systemic LUPUS nephritis and low energy ie fluorescent bulbs cause her headaches, nausea, skin rashes and contribute to LUPUS flares which could result in major organ damage. Installation of low energy fluorescent lighting in any premises means she can no longer go there. Now you are pushing for a ban on the sale of domestic incandescent bulbs. Is Greenpeace aware of the health issues related to fluorescent lighting and if so do you not care that your actions are likely to contribute to a severe impairment to the lives of people suffering from a range of auto-immune diseases?

We're definitely aware of this, and have been answering similar queries since the campaign began - see our this page for example which mentions incandescents on prescription as a possible answer. I know this won't solve the problem outside your home, but then most shops, offices and public buildings already use fluorescent lighting anyway. But to go further, light-emitting diodes or LEDs are even more efficient than CFLs and (as far as I know) no one has reported any sensitivity to them, but they aren't currently available at a mass-market price. Research into improving LEDs is hampered by the availability of incandescents as companies have no incentive to make them better and cheaper, so a ban should help kick-start an LED revolution. web editor gpuk

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