Why are Fluorescent Lights Being Banned in the UK?
As of September 2023, it is illegal to produce and sell many varieties of fluorescent tubes, lamps, and lights in the UK. This is part of the RoHS Directive in an effort to increase energy efficiency and sustainability. So, what does the ban on fluorescent lighting mean for businesses in the EU and the UK?
At RESolve, we provide energy efficiency audits, reports, solutions, and evaluations for large commercial properties. In this article we’ll discuss what kinds of fluorescent lights are being phased out, why they’re being banned, what the different phases are, and what this means for you.
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What is the Cause of the UK’s Fluorescent Tube and Lamp Ban?
UK regulations on energy standards and lighting requirements for businesses was originally set out by the EU Commission’s Regulations of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) regulations. This was amended as part of the UK’s exit of the EU, but the direction of the strategy remains the same.
The regulations require a number of different changes to the way we use energy including efficiency requirements, methodological changes, and infrastructure changes. One of these changes involves the prohibition of fluorescent tubes and lamps, and the eventual phasing out of halogen bulbs entirely.
Fluorescent lights are inefficient when compared to modern lighting solutions like LEDs, requiring more energy to power for the same result. They have a lot of waste energy, mainly in the form of heat, and require harmful materials and gases to create.
What are the Benefits of the Fluorescent Light Ban?
While it can seem an annoyance to replace your fluorescent tubes and the bulbs you’re used to, it can actually come with a number of measurable benefits to your business and the environment.
LEDs are a great modern technology that solve many common issues people have with fluorescent lighting while also providing unique benefits of their own.
Environmental Impact of LEDs vs Fluorescent Lights
LEDs have a reduced energy consumption and an increased efficiency of energy to light when compared with fluorescent lamps of the same or even higher wattages. This means less electricity is required to power them, improving their sustainability.
Another benefit of LEDs over fluorescent lamps is that they don’t use harmful gases to produce light. This makes them a more environmentally friendly option due to the nature of their materials.
Finally, the increased lifespan of LEDs when compared to halogen bulbs means they’ll need to be replaced less frequently. This results in a decrease in the materials required to produce bulbs, causing a reduction in the material procurement for making the lights and a subsequent decrease in the overall carbon footprint.
The Benefits of LEDs for Your Business
Linked to their environmental benefits are the incentives for businesses that come from using LEDs. By utilising LEDs as the lighting source for your business, you can receive benefits such as:
- Greater energy efficiency. LEDs are up to 80% more energy efficient than fluorescents or halogens, meaning less money spent on lighting.
- Better energy conversion. More of the energy that LED lights use goes on light as opposed to heat or sound, resulting in lower power for the same light intensity.
- Increased lifespan. A longer life for your lights means fewer replacements, saving you not just on the tubes and bulbs but also on maintenance costs for replacing them.
- No warm-up or cool-down. LEDs don’t typically have a delay before reaching their full brightness, nor a delay before dimming to complete darkness, making them a more responsive option for lighting your corporate property.
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The Impact of Replacing Your Fluorescent Lights
To assess what the impact of the government’s ban on fluorescent lights actually is for businesses, we’ve conducted a review on the most recent sites we’ve audited for the replacement of their fluorescent lighting.
Over the course of our audits on twelve different locations, we’ve noticed a number of positive trends and results. These include:
- A 1.81- to 4.35-year return on investment
- A 60% to 69% reduction in connected load
- 52 to 20.44 metric tonnes per annum in carbon reduction.
The broad range in statistics can depend on the size of the property reviewed and the scale of the audit and implementation process, but together they show a substantial benefit to the replacement of fluorescent tubes and halogen bulbs with more energy-efficient LEDs.
Find more ways to improve your energy efficiency with our article on solar technologies >
Audit and Improve Your Building’s Lighting with RESolve
Replacing your fluorescent lights with LEDs keeps you compliant with UK government regulations, increases the sustainability of your business, and provides greater profit margins due to the reduction in energy consumption of the new bulbs.