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EU Changes to Lighting Regulations

EU consultation to repeal 3 eco-design regulations for lighting in favour of one single regulation covering all types.

The EU plans to consolidate eco-design regulations for lighting. At present, there are three sets of lighting regulations that enact the implementation of EU Directive 2009/125EC for the eco-design requirements for energy-using products. They are:

  • EC Regulation 244/2009 - non-directional household lamps, covering e.g. compact fluorescent lamps with integrated ballast (CFLi), halogen lamps (HL) and incandescent lamps (GLS). (The requirements of this Regulation resulted in removing incandescent light bulbs from the market)
  • EC Regulation 245/2009 - for lamps mainly used in office and street lighting, covering linear fluorescent lamps (LFL), compact fluorescent lamps without integrated ballast (CFLni) and high-intensity discharge lamps (HID). (The requirements of this Regulation resulted in the removal of e.g. high-pressure mercury lamps from the market, and set requirements for control gear).
  • EC Regulation 1194/2012 for directional lamps (spots), including light emitting diodes (LED).

In the Commission's Eco-design Working Plan 2016-2019, the revision of the implementing acts for lighting products is mentioned as one of the major energy saving opportunities, with anticipated 125 TWh per year of primary energy savings in 2030 (combined effect of eco-design and energy labelling).

In addition, there are new policies that require revision to look beyond the strict scope mentioned in the review articles of the existing implementing acts for lighting products: a renewed effort in carbon emission abatement through the Paris climate agreement, the Commission's Circular Economy Action Plan, the Better Regulation policy aiming at more efficient and effective legislation, and the need to address possible circumvention of testing standards etc.

In 2015, a preparatory study concluded the main objectives of this proposal were to:

  • Simplify the eco-design regulations for lighting products by integrating the three existing regulations into one and unifying the way in which requirements are set. This is expected to reduce the administrative burden for the Commission and for industry and to facilitate market surveillance.
  • Further facilitate compliance verification by market surveillance authorities by improving definitions for scope and exemptions (reduce risk of circumvention of the regulation), reducing the number of parameters to test and reducing number of test samples and test duration where possible.
  • Increase the minimum required energy efficiency of light sources to reflect technological progress made in recent years, particularly for LED technology. This will remove from the market some of the remaining less efficient light source types, thus capturing significant energy savings at EU-level and bringing economic advantages for users.
  • Ensure that products in scope are removable from a containing product.
  • Align the verification procedure with the common approach used in EU Regulation 2016/2282 and redefine the tolerances to be used during verification by market surveillance authorities.

To put this into the context, according to the EU, in 2015 around 1.7 billion light sources were sold in the 28 countries that make up the EU, of which approximately 22% based on LED technology. In the same year around 11.4 billion light sources were operating in the EU, of which 6.5% were LED. These light sources consumed a total of 335 TWh/a of electricity, covering 12.4% of the overall EU electricity use. This corresponded to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 132 megatons of CO2 equivalent per year (MtCO2eq/a), i.e. 2.8% of the overall EU-28 GHG-emission.

Following the growth in population and in economic activity, the total number of light sources operating in the EU will increase (projected 14.6 billion in 2030; 128% of the 2015 stock), but so will the share of LEDs in this stock (projected 81% in 2030). As these LEDs on average have higher energy efficiency than the light sources they replace, i.e. consume less electricity, the total EU-28 electricity consumption for lighting is expected to decrease to 275 TWh/a in 2030 (82% of the 2015 consumption), corresponding to 93 MtCO2eq/a GHG-emissions.

Without new measures suppliers of light sources are expected to concentrate on lowering prices of their LED products (particularly for light sources typically used in households), paying less attention to product quality and energy efficiency. The EU light source industry would struggle to compete against external suppliers on price alone. The new measures aim at ensuring a minimum light source quality (functional and information requirements) and a continuing quest for higher energy efficiency.

According the EU predictions, as LEDs on average have longer lifetimes than the lamps they replace, there will be less need for users to buy replacement lamps, and consequently sales volume will decrease (projected to be 0.7 billion in 2030, i.e. 41% of the 2015 sales). Industry is expected to respond to the drop in sales of light sources by offering new light source features. Such as:

  • 'Smart lamps' (colour-tuneable, white-tone tuneable, and/or dimmable by remote control from e.g. a mobile phone).
  • 'Human-centric lighting' (use of specific light features for human health and well-being).
  • Increased use of lighting controls (occupancy sensors, day-light sensors, integration of lighting systems in building automation systems).
  • Use of light for data-transmission (LiFi), use of light sources as repeaters for wireless signals (WiFi range extension) etc.
The EU Commission accepts that in general, these new features are useful and their development should not be obstructed. However, they will consume additional electricity, which will reduce the savings due to the use of LED technology. Of particular concern is the electricity consumption in standby. Future LED light sources might consume more electricity during long hours in standby (sensors monitoring, awaiting and processing control signals) than during the shorter periods of light emission. Although, these new features are in scope of the proposed regulation only when they are integrated with the light source, with separate control gear, or if a maximum standby power requirement has been introduced.

In 2015 there was a huge gap in consensus among stakeholders on the general approach, the ambition and many other details of this revision. As a result, there have been further meetings to try to resolve these issues. There will be a public consultation planned for now! As soon as PLASA is aware of the dates it will email out the details of the consultation.

If you would like further information or you wish to register your interest in participating in the consultation then please email Ron Bonner at