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New Light Bulbs - Why the Change?

low energy light bulbWe are all aware that it is now almost impossible to buy the old style incandescent light bulbs. This is because the government has banned the sale of them and has insisted that all light-bulbs sold in stores are the low energy type.

The old style bulbs were completely phased out at the beginning of this year. This puts the UK ahead of other countries in the EU who have until next year to remove the sales of all incandescent bulbs.

There are three types of energy saving bulbs which can be purchased

  • Compact fluorescent lamps - these come in a variety of shapes and are the most common type of bulb
  • Energy saving halogen bulbs - These use 30% less energy than standard halogen bulbs.
  • LEDs - Good for use in place of spotlights and offer good lighting at low energy levels.

While there has been some controversy regarding this change, due to the fact that low energy bulbs emit a different sort of light and take some getting used to, the benefits of the new rules cannot be underestimated.

  • Changing just one bulb in your home for a low energy one can save you £2.50 each year. Multiplied over your whole house you could be looking at savings of around £30 to £40 annually.
  • An energy saving bulb is slightly more expensive to buy at around £2 each, however they need to be replaced less often and will make back savings in electricity bills. An energy saving bulb will last ten times as long as a standard bulb.
  • Energy saving bulbs use just one fifth of the energy of standard wattage bulb. So for a 60 watt bulb you only need an 11 watt low energy one.
  • The new style bulbs can be recycled – while the older style ones cannot. You can check to see if your recycling centre takes them buy visiting your council website.
  • They are now able to be dimmed the same way as older bulbs.


There has been some concern that low energy bulbs emit a type of light which can give some people headaches. If this is a problem for you, please try some of the other types of bulbs available. LED lights may be just what you are looking for.

It is also true that low energy bulbs contain a small amount of mercury which can be harmful if exposed to skin. Clearly this is only a problem if the bulb breaks. It is for this reason you should recycle your bulb if you can and avoid placing it directly into your bins.