Halogen lightbulb sales to be banned in UK under new government plans

The government has announced plans to end the sale of halogen light bulbs from this September, as part of the UK’s wider efforts to tackle climate change.

Legislation being brought forward this month will also include the removal of fluorescent lights from shelves from September 2023.

Currently, around 2 thirds of bulbs sold in Britain are LED lights, making a considerable impact in improving the energy efficiency of the country’s buildings. They last 5 times longer than traditional halogen lightbulbs and produce the same amount of light – but use up to 80% less power.

The UK began phasing out the sale of higher-energy halogen lightbulbs in 2018. The new legislation would mean retailers will no longer be able to sell the majority of halogen bulbs for general household use in the UK from 1 September.

To help people make the switch, ministers are also announcing that all light bulbs will start to feature new energy efficiency advice via ‘rescaled’ energy labels on their boxes. The labels will simplify the way energy efficiency is displayed on a new scale from A-G, doing away with the A+, A++ or A+++ ratings. The new labels will raise the bar for each class, meaning very few bulbs will now be classified as A, helping consumers choose the most environmentally friendly bulbs.

This measure is expected to mean that LED light bulbs will account for 85% of all bulbs sold by 2030.

In addition, the government also plans to start phasing out the sale of high-energy fluorescent lightbulbs, with a view to bringing an end to their sale from September 2023.

Taken together, these new rules will mark a significant shift to more energy efficient and longer lasting LEDs and will stop 1.26 million tonnes of carbon being emitted every year – the equivalent of removing over half a million cars from the UK’s roads.

The move is part of a package of energy efficiency improvements to electrical appliances, which will save consumers an average of £75 a year on energy bills.

Energy Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:

We’re phasing out old inefficient halogen bulbs for good, so we can move more quickly to longer lasting LED bulbs, meaning less waste and a brighter and cleaner future for the UK.

By helping ensure electrical appliances use less energy but perform just as well, we’re saving households money on their bills and helping tackle climate change.

Today’s plans also include a ban from September on the sale of lighting fixtures with fixed bulbs that can’t be replaced – meaning the fixtures have to be thrown away. Fixtures such as these account for 100,000 tonnes of electrical waste every year – out of a total 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste each year.

Minister for Climate Change, Lord Martin Callanan, said:

Flicking the off-switch on energy inefficient light bulbs is a simple way that households can save money at the same time as saving the planet.

Phasing out halogen bulbs in favour of LED alternatives that last longer, are just as bright and cheaper to run, is another way that we are helping tackle climate change.

Chief Executive of Signify UK, which owns Philips lighting, Stephen Rouatt, said:

We welcome the UK government’s next step in the transition towards more sustainable lighting products. Using energy-efficient LED equivalents for halogen and fluorescent lighting on an even broader scale will significantly help the UK on its journey to decarbonisation, as well as lowering the annual electricity bills for consumers.

Overall, the government’s package of energy efficiency improvements will also cut 8 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2021 by reducing the amount of energy products consume over their life-time – the equivalent of removing all emissions from Birmingham and Leeds each year.

Wiring Matters – Issue 85 [May 2021]

Here is an overview of what is in the latest edition of the Wiring Matters magazine – Issue 85 [May 2021].

Why have energy efficiency in electrical installations?

A background to Appendix 17 – In summer 2018, BS 7671:2018 (the 18th Edition of the UK’s IET Wiring Regulations) included a new Appendix (17) concerning energy efficiency in electrical installations. The current proposals for Amendment 2 of BS 7671:2018 develop the initial provisions that have been derived from the international standard IEC 60364-8-1 Low Voltage electrical installations – Part 8-1: Energy Efficiency.

With great power comes great responsibility

‘Smart’ is undoubtedly the hot buzzword, both at the wholesalers and when considering options with clients. Domestic and commercial customers are now very aware that there are a host of devices and equipment that can swap out the ‘traditional’ item and offer them greater functionality. These options are increasingly on a par in terms of price, room thermostats being a good example, where Internet of Things (IoT)/Wi-Fi versions are really not much more expensive than their older, physical-button relations.

EICR Myths

Answering some of the most common questions and dispelling the myths associated with the EICR. Since the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020, the IET technical helpline has been inundated with calls related to the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This previous IET Wiring Matters article provides further information. In this article, we are going to answer some of the most common questions received and dispel some of the myths associated with the EICR.

Earth leakage

One question being asked in the IET Engineering Communities Forum is ’Earth Leakage Current – How much is too much? This question is being asked more often due to the proliferation of electronic equipment.

Draft for Public Comment for Guide to Implementing Electrified Heat in Domestic Properties

The IET Codes and Guidance team has recently released a draft Guide to Implementing Electrified Heat in Domestic Properties. Prepared for all those involved in this sector, it focuses on all forms of electrified heat as well as other related approaches and technologies.

Elex showcase – discounts, industry forums and more

For those of you missing real-life events, the IET has partnered with Elex to bring you the next best thing – a Virtual Showcase! The showcase offers you everything you’d usually expect to find on the IET stand at an Elex show – discounts on our books and training, the popular IET Industry Forum seminars, and information and webinars around our professional registration offering for the electrical industry, Electrician EngTech.

Electrical appliances to be cheaper to run and last longer with new standards

Not directly related to the Wiring Regulations, but this will be seen as good news for consumers and those who repair electrical goods.

Fridges, washing machines and televisions will soon be cheaper to run, easier to repair and will last longer thanks to plans for new energy efficiency legislation announced by UK government (Wednesday 10th March).

Ministers are set to introduce tough new rules for electrical products to tackle ‘premature obsolescence’ – a short lifespan deliberately built into an appliance by manufacturers which leads to unnecessary and costly replacements for the consumer.

From this Summer, manufacturers will be legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers for the first time – a new legal right for repairs – so that electrical appliances can be fixed easily. The move is expected to extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years – preventing appliances ending up on the scrap heap sooner than they should and reducing carbon emissions at the same time. The UK generates around 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste every year.

The changes will also set far higher energy-efficiency standards for electrical products which, overall, will save consumers an average of £75 a year on energy bills. They will cut 8 mega tonnes of carbon emissions in 2021 by reducing the amount of energy products consume over their life-time – the equivalent of removing all emissions from Birmingham and Leeds each year.

Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

Our plans to tighten product standards will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than thrown on the scrap heap, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers whilst protecting the environment.

Going forward, our upcoming energy efficiency framework will push electrical products to use even less energy and material resources, saving people money on their bills and reducing carbon emissions as we work to reach net zero by 2050.

Meanwhile, from 1 March, new energy labels have also been introduced which simplify the way energy efficiency is displayed on a new scale from A-G. Today the vast majority of appliances are classified as A+, A++ or A+++. The new labels will improve the old system by raising the bar for each class, meaning very few appliances will now be classified as A.

The changes will provide more accurate information on energy efficiency, incentivising manufacturers to go further. They are also designed to encourage consumers to buy more energy efficient products, and boost people’s confidence in the environmental credentials of the products they are buying. Now the UK is an independent nation outside the EU, the EU emblem on energy efficiency labels has also been replaced with the Union Flag.

Climate Change Minister, Lord Callanan, said:

We can all play our part in ending our contribution to climate change, even when we’re choosing a new electrical appliance. The new energy labels we have introduced this week will help consumers make more informed decisions about how eco-friendly one smart TV or dishwasher is over another, helping us reduce our carbon footprint and build back greener.

Head of International Collaboration at Energy Saving Trust, Emilie Carmichael, said:

This is another positive step in raising the minimum energy performance for domestic products. Simplifying the way energy efficiency is displayed on labels will help consumers to make more informed choices to reduce their energy consumption and bills. Equally, every small step that consumers take in choosing the most efficient appliances will help the UK in reaching its net zero targets.

The government is also today publishing a summary of responses to a recent call for evidence on energy-related products, which explored the scope for introducing even more ambitious climate-friendly policy for energy consuming appliances now the UK has left the EU transition period. This work feeds into a forthcoming policy framework, which the Prime Minister included in his 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

Wiring Matters Issue 84 – March 2021

It’s time to take a look what’s inside Issue 84 (March 2021) of Wiring Matters.

Estimating the age of an electrical installation

This article by Richard Giddings (IEng MIET ACIBSE) looks at how useful it is to be able to establish the approximate age of an electrical installation, whether needing this information for reporting purposes, work or just plain curiosity. Electrical testing alone is insufficient to give an installation’s exact age although, in some instances, it can assist. Instead, recognizing certain details will be a great skill which can be honed by experience.

Island mode earthing arrangements: New Guidance in the Second Edition of the IET Code of Practice on Electrical Energy Storage Systems

Introducing the concept of prosumer’s electrical installations (PEIs), and operating modes for a electrical energy storage systems (EESS) and examining the earthing arrangements for island mode operation for PEIs with EESS. By Graham Kenyon CEng MIET and Dr Andrew F Crossland CEng PhD.

The all-new 5th edition of the IET Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment

In this article, James Eade, author of the 5th edition, continues his brief insight into the changes to this important Code, now available from the IET.

Broken PEN

Don’t panic, this article is not about broken ballpoint pens, it is concerning broken PEN conductors in PME earthing arrangements. By Michael Peace CEng MIET.

The history of colour identification of conductors

We consider identification of conductors by colour as the norm today, but it wasn’t always the case, as prior to 1916 conductors were not typically identified by colour. By Michael Peace CEng MIET.

Can I install a metal consumer unit with a TT earthing system?

High earth fault loop impedance values associated with TT earthing systems mean the earth fault current level is unlikely to be sufficient to operate the distributor’s protective device within the permitted time of 1 second, as required in Regulation 411.2.4, or at all in some cases, depending on Earth resistance values.

There is nothing to prevent a metal consumer unit being installed with a TT earthing system, but it’s important to ensure that an earth fault cannot develop between the meter tails and the metallic enclosure before the RCD.

Methods of reducing an earth faults include keeping the meter tails as short as possible, the installation of proprietary clamps and glands to secure the cables and prevent strain on the terminations, minimising the risk of damage to the meter tails and a subsequent earth fault.