The Need for Transparency in the Lighting Industry

Lightbulbs excluded in EU regulations on energy efficiency claims

The Guardian, April 12, 2016. Image credit: jacquess27

The EU has voted to close loopholes that allow home appliance manufacturers to make misleading claims about their products’ energy performance, but environmentalists are incandescent that lightbulbs have been excluded from the new rules.

Companies will no longer be able to test fridges, TVs and dishwashers using a 10% margin of error between their advertised and actual energy consumptions, under an amendment to Europe’s ecodesign laws approved by national experts in Brussels on Tuesday.

But the lighting sector has been let off the hook for now, due to fears that changing the rules could devastate industry.

In December, the Guardian revealed that Swedish consumer association tests had found that big brand bulb-makers such as Ikea, Osram and Philips were exaggerating their products’ energy performance by up to 25%. Ikea offered to refund any dissatisfied customers as a result.

The mismatch between advertising claims and reality arose because EU energy performance tests allowed lighting manufacturers to undershoot their advertised brightness ratings by 10%.

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