European Union’s ban on incandescent bulbs will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save about 40 THw of energy per year.

A ban goes into effect next week that prevents retailers from buying new supplies of 100-watt incandescent bulbs or any of the frosted glass (matte) varieties. They can, however, continue to sell their existing stock. It is predicted that energy-inefficient bulbs will disappear entirely from the shelves by 2016, although the most widely used bulbs (40W and 25W) will go in 2012.


In March 2007, EU leaders agreed to ban the bulbs in favor of low-energy light bulbs. The legislation was passed in December 2008. The European Commission estimates that the average household will save €25-€50 per year, even taking into account the higher price of the low-energy bulbs. The Commission believes that the complete ban will save around 40 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy per year, roughly equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Romania.


I applaud the EU for this measure. If something as simple as replacing light bulbs can save so much energy and keep the greenhouse gas emissions from increasing, we should all be doing it. I’m just not sure that we need the government to enforce it. Perhaps a tax credit or some other measure would be a better way to replace less efficient bulbs. A cash for bulbs program, perhaps?

What do you think? Should the U.S. government pass similar legislation, or should it be the people’s choice? Leave a comment below.