Ban on fluorescent lamps
Modern lighting technology contributes significantly to sustainability. Inefficient and environmentally harmful light sources have therefore been and are being removed from the European market as part of the RoHS Directive and the Ecodesign Regulation. Since February 2023, the sales ban for compact fluorescent lamps and circular fluorescent lamps T5 has been in effect. Since August 2023, linear fluorescent lamps T5 and T8 are banned and since September 1, 2023, halogen lamps (G9, G4 / GY6.35) are not allowed to be placed on the EU market.
The ban has immediate benefits for consumers: Compared to luminaires with 38mm fluorescent lamps operated with a conventional ballast, modern LED luminaires with daylight and presence detectors consume 80 percent less energy. Compared to fluorescent luminaires, LED luminaires have significantly better light control and a much longer service life. At the workplace, for example, they provide 20 percent more illuminance with the same luminous flux. Up to 30 percent of the investment costs for retrofitting are subsidised.
Amendment to the EU Directive 2011/65/EU
The European Union’s RoHS Directive regulates, among other things, the handling of mercury in lamps. This regulation is complemented by the Ecodesign Regulation: It restricts the sale of light bulbs with low energy efficiency. In spring 2022, the EU Commission revised the exceptions defined in Annex III of the directive. This has far-reaching effects on building maintenance – after all, a large proportion of public buildings are still equipped with mercury-containing lamps. Facility managers have since switched to the wide range of mercury-free replacement lamps offered by lamp manufacturers. Caution is advised here: Many electricians offer to convert luminaires to retrofit lamps. However, the luminaire loses its CE certification as a result of the conversion. It is not straightforward to find out who is responsible for any potential personal injury or damage to property. The switch to LED retrofit lamps always changes a luminaire’s beam characteristics. Especially in workplaces, the luminance limits and the UGR limits are consequently exceeded, and the luminaires can no longer be used for their intended purpose. Conversion to retrofit is also not eligible for funding.
Another solution is to use new LED luminaires. This way, the efficiency is highest and the standard requirement resulting from the type of workplace can be met. Since December 2021, the revised lighting standard for workplaces, in which the illuminance requirement has in some cases been significantly increased, has been valid. Furthermore, significantly higher illuminance levels for older staff and higher cylindrical illuminance levels for helping set the staffs’ circadian clocks have been defined more precisely and can therefore be considered by every lighting designer. One must not forget the option of increasing light quality through the CRI 90 luminaires, which are now widely available.
Phasing out light sources at a glance
Switching from fluorescent lamps to LED luminaires is subsidised in many countries. The aim is to make it easier for companies, public institutions, and households to switch to energy-efficient LED technology and save valuable energy and costs. In Austria, conversion is subsidised by up to 30 percent of the investment costs. It should be noted that retrofitting to LED retrofit is not subsidised.
Funding programmes for energy-efficient lighting