Incandescent bulbs successfully phased out
Energy researcher Mats Bladh claims the EU decree to replace the common incandescent bulb in domestic homes with low-energy bulbs will provide substantial energy savings. 60-watt bulbs have now been phased out in Sweden, and it went off without a hitch.
Lighting is the largest single source of household electricity consumption and accounts for 10% of total domestic energy use. In line with a EU directive the phasing out of traditional incandescent bulbs and their replacement with low-energy bulbs has been on-going for several years.
Bladh, an energy researcher at the Department of Thematic Studies - Technology and Social Change points to a couple of factors contributing to this development.
“It’s going well. The phase-out is taking place incrementally, so that bulbs can be gradually replaced. Alternatives are available; low-energy bulbs have been around since the 1980s and are well known and easy to get. LEDs, which save even more energy, will be developed over the next few years, especially as far as price is concerned. The ban has worked like a friendly push over the threshold of higher price.The soft ban-method and a long transfer time could be used in several areas,” he continues, and cites an example: Electric cars.
“Replace electric heating in houses with district heating, and let cars run on electricity instead. Fully implemented, it would save 29 terawatt-hours of electricity,” he says, fully aware that the battery issue still presents a difficulty as far as electric cars are concerned.
But what captures his research interests the most is the statistic showing that Sweden’s total energy consumption really hasn’t increased since the 1970s. After a sharp increase in the decades prior, it then flattened out in connection with the first oil crisis; since then it’s largely stood still.
“How did that happen? The answer to that question would be of great help going forward.”
He points out several causes:
- Industries have made their energy use more efficient
- district heating has expanded
- household equipment like refrigerators and freezers have become more energy-efficient
- cars have more fuel-efficient motors, even if they’ve become bigger and heavier.
Bladh believes this trend could continue and produce a real reduction in energy use, but he wants stronger political governance for it to become reality.
“We need long-term energy policy. The decision on nuclear energy last year is, unfortunately, an example of the opposite; it took away a part of the basis for energy efficiency. We’re letting our ambitions go, and that’s not good.”
Read more about the EU's stance on light bulbs
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Last updated: 2013-05-22