As the ErP regulations continue to ‘weed out’ inefficient light sources, distributors will soon be impacted by another wave of phase-outs. The key changes are summarised below.
In recent years we have seen a number of light sources removed from the market because they failed to meet the efficiency requirements imposed by the Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive. The third phase of this process will remove another swathe of light sources from distributors’ shelves, requiring them to find suitable alternatives for their customers.
ErP forms part of the wider Ecodesign Directive, which seeks to improve the efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact, of energy-consuming products throughout the lifespan of the product. This is achieved by gradually raising the minimum efficiency requirements of products, so those that fall below the minimum will no longer comply and have to be removed from sale.
For lighting products, the next significant development is the phase-out of all mains voltage (230 – 240V) directional (reflector) halogen lamps, and some incandescent lamps, by September 2016.
This will be followed by a phase-out of many low performance High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps and inefficient HID control gear (Ballasts) in April 2017.
For distributors the significance of these developments is that their customers will be looking for suitable alternatives that they can use with their existing lighting fixtures.
Incandescent and halogen
Whilst earlier phases of the Directive saw the removal of most types of tungsten incandescent light sources, there were some exceptions and these included so-called ‘rough service GLS’ lamps. These lamps, which are constructed to resist shock or vibration, were effectively banned from February 2016, as were crown-mirror lamps. Infrared, low voltage (<60V), tubular (<60mm), coloured and traffic lamps <60lm) continue to be classified as ‘special-purpose lamps’ and remain exempt.
More significant for the majority of sales is the phase-out by September 2016 of mains voltage reflector lamps with E14, E27 and GU10 bases. This encompasses the majority of familiar lamp shapes including R39, R50, R63, R80, PAR16, PAR20 and PAR38 (except infra-red PAR 38 lamps used for heating).
Whilst some 12V lamps will also be affected, the majority will be upgraded so that they comply with the latest regulation. Non-directional halogen lamps, including 12V capsules, will not be affected until September 2018.
As the efficiency requirements for the majority of mains voltage halogen reflector lamps are such that they cannot be upgraded to comply, it will be necessary to find suitable alternative retrofit lamps. The obvious choice here is to use retrofit LED lamps, as there are now suitable products for all of these applications.
This is clearly an ideal opportunity for distributors to guide their customers down the LED route, emphasising the significant benefits that LED light sources deliver. These include significantly improved efficiency, as well as a much longer life so that end customers will benefit from both reduced energy and maintenance costs.
To that end, distributors are recommended to work closely with lamp manufacturers to ensure that they are stocking the best alternatives to the halogen lamps that will no longer be available.
Phase 3 of the ErP roll-out will also see the least efficient discharge lamps removed from sale by April 2017. In the majority of cases though, manufacturers are already able to offer higher efficiency variants of their existing products, such as ceramic discharge metal halide, to meet the new efficiency requirements.
Although 95% of magnetic ballasts under 400W will be banned by the same legislation, it should be noted that magnetic gear and ballasts for low-pressure sodium (SOX) lamps are unaffected.
Again, there will be suitable electromagnetic alternatives on the market in time for this phase-out, whilst magnetic drivers of 400W and above will continue to drive high wattage HID lamps.
Adding value for customers
As noted above, while these regulations may be seen as a nuisance by some they also represent an opportunity for distributors to engage more closely with their customers in helping them navigate the new requirements and find the most suitable products. Ensuring that you are aware of these changes and what alternative products are available, with guidance from lamp suppliers where appropriate, will therefore be essential in enhancing the service you deliver to your customers.