Old-fashioned light bulbs will become illegal

The sale of power-heavy light bulbs will soon be illegal. Image by Brett Sayles/Pexels

Sale of power-heavy light bulbs stops from next week

In an attempt to reduce energy consumption, a ban on the sale of power-heavy light bulbs kicks in from next week.

Old-fashioned light bulbs will become illegal

The sale of power-heavy light bulbs will soon be illegal. Image by Brett Sayles/Pexels

South Africans will not be able to buy power-heavy light bulbs from next week. These include regular fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs for general household use. This decision was made in an attempt to reduce energy consumption and promote environmentally friendly lighting options.

Ban to be implemented in two stages

Many people have already switched to use more energy efficient LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs in their homes. However, many are still using the “old-fashioned” types of light bulbs that use significantly more energy. The Department of Trade and Industry and Competition (DTIC) has gazetted new compulsory standards for standard lighting in South Africa, leading to a ban on sales of all light bulbs except for energy-efficient LEDs.

The ban on the sale of inefficient lightbulbs will start on 23 May 2024. Traditional incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs do not comply with the new energy efficiency standards. It will be illegal for stores to sell these.

The implementation has two phases. In the first phase of the regulations, light bulbs with an efficiency rating of less than 90 lumens per watt (Lm/W) will be illegal for sale and general household use. In the second phase, the minimum requirement will become 105 lumens per watt. Lumens per watt refers to the energy efficiency of lighting, i.e. how much visible light you get for a given amount of electricity.

View the official notice and full specifications here.

Why are LEDs better to use?

LEDs are better to use on two fronts – cost and environment.

LEDs are highly energy efficient because they produce less heat, emit more light, and cost less in terms of electricity usage.

When compared to conventional lighting, LEDs use around 85% less electricity. In comparison to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), LEDs use around 18% less electricity. Worldwide, around 20% of electricity is consumed in lighting.

The US Department of Energy lists the key differences between LEDs and other light bulbs such as incandescent bulbs and CFLs:

  1. LEDs emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. This feature makes LEDs more efficient. With other types of lighting, the light must be reflected to the desired direction and more than half of the light may never leave the fixture.
  2. LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat.
  3. They typically last much longer than other lighting types. A good quality LED bulb can last 3 to 5 times longer than a CFL and 30 times longer than an incandescent bulb.