Category Archives: Light Bulbs

How to illumintate your chandelier or lighting accessory to create the best aesthetic look.

The Incandescent Light Bulb Ban and the impact for chandeliers.

The History of the Light Bulb Ban

In 2008 the European Union ( EU) set out a regulation to phase out traditional incandescent filament lamps with more energy efficient alternatives. This initiative by the commission covered by the Ecodesign Directive is to replace the lamps with either energy efficient bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps ( CFL) or LED bulbs with the first phase being between 2009 and 2012. This is part of the EU’s fight against climate change to reduce the levels of carbon emission by 20% compared to business as usual by 2020. With lighting accounting for about one fifth of householders energy consumption then tacking this element is a major contributor to achieving the target. Here I will outline the directive and look at the implications for chandeliers.

Details of the Light Bulb phase out

In simple terms all inefficient light bulbs which covers standard incandescent light bulbs, which are the old filament bulbs together with conventional halogen bulbs will be phased out progressively between 2009 and September 2012. More detail on the timing and elements of this transition is covered below:-

  • All frosted and pearl incandescent light bulbs have been phased out from September 2009 as these are the most inefficient classification of incandescent light bulbs.
  • From September 2009 all clear light bulbs with an effective output of 100watts will need to be of energy rating C.
  • From September 2010 all transparent lamps with a wattage of 75 watts or more will need to have at least an energy rating of C.
  • From September 2011 all clear lamps which have an equivalent output of 60watts or more will need to have an energy rating of C or above.
  • From September 2012 all clear lamps of ant wattage will need to have an energy rating of at least C. This means that all D rated and higher light bulbs will be subject to this ban.

Energy Rating definition for Light Bulbs

For this to make sense it is important to understand the basics of the energy classification for light bulbs. Here is a brief overview:-

  • Energy Rating E,F and G covers the traditional incandescent filament light bulbs
  • Energy Rating D, E and F covers conventional halogen light bulbs
  • Energy Rating C covers conventional halogen 12volt lamps which will give approximately a 25% energy saving and Xenon filled halogen energy saving light bulbs which give around a 30% saving when compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs. These are one of the best types of light bulbs for chandeliers.
  • Energy Rating B covers CFL globe bulbs which have an internal spiral CFL and outer casing and some LED’s
  • Energy Rating A covers spiral CFL light bulbs and more energy efficient LED bulbs. These LED’s are particularly suited for chandeliers especially where environmental factors are on the agenda.

Details of which light bulbs are effected by the ban.

In simple terms this means that by September 2012 then no incandescent light bulbs will be allowed and all halogen bulbs will need to be the halogen energy saving light bulbs which have the Xenon gas filling which makes them more energy efficient. The directive says that  all bulbs which are imported of supplied by the manufacturer prior to the effectivity date are still allowed to be sold by retailers until there stocks run out. There are more regulations in the pipeline to further promote this migration to energy saving light bulbs so watch this space.

Effects for the Chandelier

The best light bulbs for chandeliers in my opinion are either the flame shaped halogen candle or the LED chandelier bulb . The halogen flame candle bulb is a beautiful aesthetic bulb which has similarities to the candles always used to light traditional chandeliers prior to electricity being available. The LED  dimmable candle flame bulb is a fabulous light bulb which is not only great looking but in addition it saves around 90% in energy costs which fits perfectly with this directive.

Choosing light bulbs for your Chandelier

You have invested in a beautiful chandelier with quality crystal and made by traditional craftsmanship so don’t ruin it by using ugly light bulbs. A crystal chandelier deserves elegant bulbs but you also need to keep an eye on the environment. A chandelier with say 24 bulbs could typically consume 500 watts in power which not only is expensive in electrical costs but also results in a large amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere in the creation of that electricity.

Now there are a few options. Firstly you could just put in some cheap and cheerful incandescent filament bulbs, potentially with a flame shape design and they will certainly do the job and if you chose wisely then they can look elegant. But the down-side is the electricity consumption and at some stage in the future these bulbs will included in the incandescent light bulb ban. The opaque 100watt bulbs are already banned and progressively over the next few years filament incandescent bulbs will be phased out starting at the higher wattage.

Arguably the best solution here is to go for Halogen bulbs, which look identical to the filament bulbs but consume 30% less energy and by selecting flame shaped bulbs these look very elegant. In addition as these energy saving halogen bulbs are dimmable you have control over the level of illumination which is very important with chandeliers with high numbers of bulbs.

Now you may say that this is still too inefficient and if this is the case then you can select a Compact Fluorescent (CFL) technology energy saving light bulb which means that you can get the equivalent of a 40watt output from a 7 watt bulb. These energy saving bulbs using the compact fluorescent (CFL) technology give a tremendous energy saving. The downside is the aesthetics because the bulbs are more bulky and do not have the slim elegent lines of the halogen flame shape bulbs.

So if you want to be right up with the latest technology then the type to go for is LED light bulbs . This means that from a 3 watt LED bulb you can get the equivalent wattage of around 25 watts from a traditional incandescent bulb. This is a tremendous energy saving and the aesthetics are quite good also.

So these days there realy are some good alternatives for you to choose from to get the right balance between aesthetics, the environment and commercials when chosing your crystal chandelier light bulbs.