UK: Non-Efficient Lighting Products To Be Phased Out By 2012

Last Updated: 23 April 2009
Article by Kate Warnock-Smith and Valentina Keys

On 18 March 2009 the European Commission (EC) adopted new legislation designed to replace incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient models of (i) domestic non-directional lamps and (ii) tertiary lighting products. Two new Regulations - EC/244/2009 and EC/245/2009 - have been specifically drafted to effect this change as part of the third implementing measure of the Eco-Design Directive of Energy Using Products (Directive 2005/32/EC). The two Regulations set new minimum energy-efficiency, functionality and product information requirements for lighting, which are due to be phased-in from September 2009. This new development is relevant not only to those involved in the manufacture, production and distribution of existing lighting products, but also to those from the cleantech sector who are involved in research, manufacture and investment in "green" lighting products. The European Commission estimates that these new measures will save close to 80 TWh of electricity by 2020, and lead to a reduction of about 32 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, compared with assumed levels if no eco-design measures were taken.

Eco-Design Directive

The Eco-Design of Energy Using Products (the "Directive") Directive (2005/32/EC) forms part of the wider European policy vision to apply energy efficiency and life-costing considerations at the design stage of products and services. In this way, the Directive aims to help increase energy savings for all consumer appliances running on electricity. The Directive acts as a framework pursuant to which product-specific eco-design measures may be implemented by way of Regulations issued by the European Commission from time to time. Existing measures relate to, for example, stand-by power consumption limits for electrical and electronic household products and eco-design requirements for simple set-top boxes.

Implementing Measures

Implementing measures of the Directive relating to non-directional domestic lamps and tertiary lighting and setting mandatory eco-design requirements for lighting products were introduced in March 2009. These eco-design requirements relate to non-directional household lamps and street, office and industrial lighting products which are placed on the Community market. "Placing" on the market is defined in the Directive to mean making a product to which the eco-design requirements apply available the European Community market for the first time with a view to its distribution or use. In the UK the 'Blue Book' interpretation of the meaning of 'Placed on the Market' is recommended for further guidance.

Importantly, because the eco-design requirements are implemented by way of Regulations, and not Directives, as soon as they are passed into law they will have effect across the EU. This means that they do not have to await separate implementing legislation in the various Member States.

What do the Regulations say?

Regulation EC/244/2009 regarding non-directional household lamps

Regulation EC/244/2009 addresses lightbulbs which are designed for full or partial illumination of a household room. Under this Regulation, non-directional household lamps will now have to comply with new eco-design standards, even when they are marketed for non-household use or when they are integrated onto other products. The new standards will also extend to light emitting diodes (LEDs), but not to "special purpose lamps" such as those used in traffic signals, terrarium lighting, or household appliances. Nonetheless, "special purpose lamps" will be expected to meet stringent labelling requirements as of 1 September 2009 (see below). Click here to access this Regulation.

Regulation EC/245/2009 regarding fluorescent lamps without integrated ballast, high intensity discharge lamps and for ballasts and luminaries able to operate such lamps

Regulation EC/245/2009 sets eco-design requirements for street, office and industrial lighting products, namely, fluorescent lamps without integrated ballast, high intensity discharge lamps, and ballasts and luminaries able to operate such lamps. Click here to access this Regulation.

It is intended that together the Regulations will gradually phase out the incandescent light bulb as well as leading to reductions in mercury content and mercury emissions of more energy-efficient lightbulbs. Additionally, new design measures for street lighting aim to reduce light pollution.

How are the products affected?

The two Regulations set new eco-design requirements for household and street, office and industrial lighting products. (Technical details of the new requirements are set out in the Regulations.)

Non-directional domestic lamps are expected to meet eco-design requirements set out in Annex II of the EC/244/2009 Regulation. New requirements are to be phased-in gradually, the first compliance date being 1 September 2009.

Special purpose lamps are defined in EC/244/2009 Regulation as lamps not intended for household room illumination because of their technical parameters or because the related product information indicates that they are unsuitable for household room illumination. Examples of these include lamps used in computer screens, photocopiers, tanning appliances and the like. The new Regulation provides that these lamps will have to comply with strict labelling requirements when placed on the market. The labelling would need to provide information with regard to (a) their intended purpose; and (b) that they are not suitable for household room illumination.

Fluorescent lamps without integrated ballast, high intensity discharge lamps, ballasts and luminaries able to operate such lamps are expected to meet the ecodesign requirements as set out in Annex III of EC/245/2009 Regulation. The first stage requirements will apply one year after entry into force of this Regulation (Spring 2010) to fluorescent lamps without integrated ballast and to high intensity discharge lamps.

Halogen lamps of socket G9 and R7s are to be given extra time for compliance in order to prevent undue costs to consumers and to give manufacturers time to develop more efficient alternatives.

Verification procedure for market surveillance purposes

Both Regulations provide that the relevant authorities in Member States will be required to test a randomly selected sample batches of a minimum 20 lamps of the same model from the same manufacturer in order to ensure compliance.


The new set of eco-design requirements for lightbulbs and other lighting products is expected to reduce mercury emissions and improve the energy performance of buildings and streets. Initial costs of meeting the eco-design requirements will have to be incurred by businesses and manufacturers. That said, the EC hopes that ultimate improved efficiency within buildings will secure future savings on energy bills. If you require more information on how to ensure compliance with the new requirements please contact Kate Warnock-Smith or Valentina Keys.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 20/04/2009.

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