80 per cent of bulbs in UK homes are inefficient, wasteful "incandescent" bulbs. But, for around 30 years, an altogether better option has been available to us - the energy saving bulb, or thr CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp).
CFLs use five times less energy, lasts up to 12 times longer and could save UK consumers around £1.2 billion in electricity bills per year. If all domestic bulbs in the UK were CFLs, the we could cut our CO2 emissions by over five million tonnes - more than the CO2 emitted by 26 of the world's lowest emitting countries combined.
And that's just light bulbs. Imagine the CO2 and energy savings we could achieve if governments simply banned the least efficient fridges, TVs, computers and washing machines from sale.
In 2007 we launched our 'Ban the Bulb' bulb campaign to persuade supermarkets, DIY shops and department stores to make the switch, increase their range of energy saving bulbs and voluntarily take all incandescents off their shelves. And our league table showing which retailers were making genuine commitments to energy efficiency and which ones were stumbling around in the dark had a positive effect - major retailers like Curry's, Habitat and Ikea acknowledged the urgency of climate change and began to take a lead.
By the end of 2010 almost half of Britain's biggest retail chains had phased out incandescent bulbs, with most of the others following suit by 2011 - ahead of a proposed EU-wide phase out by 2012.
CFLs have been gaining ground around the world. Here are are some of the nations who've already banned, or are committed to phasing out, old power crazy bulbs:
- Ireland (2009)
- Australia (2010)
- Argentina, Russia, Canada (2012)
- USA, Malaysia (2014)
Others like Brazil, Venezuela , Switzerland and India have taken big steps to cut back. India's plan to replace 400 million incandescent bulbs with CFLs by 2014 will save an estimated 55 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
Find out what CFLs are, where you can get them (maybe even for free) and exactly what the campaign set out to achieve in our bulb FAQ. If you think CFLs are ugly, expensive and limited in range, allow us to explode some myths for you, and have a look around our gallery at the range of CFL bu;bs now available.