LED Lighting In The EU

- Jun 26, 2019-

The European Union removed a major stumbling block for broader adoption of LED lighting in 2013 when it validated the use of LED headlamps for automobiles following Audi’s adoption of LED lights for some of its cars.

The EU is also accelerating the transition to LEDs as an eco-friendly lighting technology with a regulatory phase-out of traditional incandescent bulbs and halogen lamps. This phase-out is being imposed in an environment that expects to see a 10-20% increase in domestic lighting production before 2020.  The EU has lead the worldwide push towards the reduction of greenhouse gases.  By generating substantially more light output for the same energy input, LEDs lower greenhouse gas emissions produced during electricity production.

The EU was also the major motivational force behind two large eco-friendly initiatives of the early 2000’s.  The reduction of hazardous substances (RoHS) and waste electrical and electronic equipment directive (WEEE) caused quite a stir for manufacturers worldwide.  These efforts forced manufacturers to drop many popular but hazardous materials from their products:  lead (used in solder and outdoor products as a mildewcide), cadmium (relay contacts, photocells, metal plating), mercury (gas vapor bulbs, batteries, thermostats).  WEEE is mainly focused on recycling and breaking down products after their useful life into separateable waste streams like plastic, metal, partially hazardous parts.  Manufacturers responded by dropping many older product lines and redesigned others to comply.   Additionally, since LEDs last longer, the waste stream of LED lighting does not include the many spent bulbs that a traditional lighting system generates.

The acceptance of  LEDs will occur faster than the lighting retrofit of compact fluorescent lamps (“CFLs”).  The public did not wholly embrace CFL’s due to several issues that do not plague LEDs.  Unlike CFL’s, LED lamps provide a broad variety of lighting and control options, with mood-affecting lighting, different colors and light temperatures, spot and targeted lighting, and rapid on-off and dimming capabilities.  CFLs also had limitations for high power light output due to the lamp element itself blocking the optics.