Capital Considers CFL Switch

ABU DHABI - Edison's light bulb is considered one the greatest invention of our times, but we are about to switch off the incandescent bulb for the last time.

By Silvia Radan And Anwar Ahmad

Published: Thu 5 Feb 2009, 11:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:53 AM

England announced in January that it will stop production of the traditional incandescent light bulb by 2010, while giant retailers such as Tesco said it will have the product off the shelves this year, in favour of the new energy saving bulbs.

As an eagerly growing environmentalist, UAE is set to follow suite.

Officials at the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi told Khaleej Times that plans to remove incandescent light bulbs from the market are already being discussed.

"The government is considering switching the traditional light bulbs with the energy saving ones," said Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD. The recently-released McKinsey report on the cost of staving off global warming showed many changes will actually save money in the long run.

Switching from incandescent to the newer bulbs, known as compact fluorescent light (CFL), is one of the most cost saving ways to reduce carbon emissions.

If the new regulations go ahead, it will involve the switch not only for domestic use, but also for public bulbs such as street lights and government offices bulbs.

The energy saving tubes are meant to save up to 80 percent energy and significantly reduce carbon emissions, thus being a lot more desirable for the environment. But are they better for people?

Most consumers argue that CFLs cost a lot more, although they last a lot longer, and they also emit less light, which can be highly inconvenient.

Unilux for example, an UAE made CFL of 26 watt costs Dh7 and consumes only 20 percent energy, while a Philip's 50 watt normal bulb, which costs 83 fils, consumes 100 percent energy.

Furthermore, the incandescent bulbs have no warranty while CFLs normally come with one year warranty.

Among the most powerful CFLs found on most retailers' shelves throughout the country are the China-made Novex of 45 watt, priced at Dh25 and the Galux of 32 watt, sold at Dh12. Despite the benefits of energy saving bulbs, consumers who tried them out complained that they are very weak and it takes several CFLs to do the job of a 100 watt incandescent bulb.

"I used to have a 60 watt bulb in the bathroom and after it broke I tried one of those energy saving 32 watts, which was the highest I found in the store. Still, the light was so weak I had to change it and revert to the old style.

If they would make proper lights, I would buy the eco-friendly ones, even if they cost more", claimed Steve Gallager, an Abu Dhabi resident from Britain. Still,, a local dedicated website for the benefits of CFLs created by Dubai's eco-conscious company Ecobility Energy Solutions, claims that better CFLs already exist on the market.

"The main benefits of ILLUME Energy Efficient Bulbs compared to other energy efficient bulbs on the market include warm white colour that is indistinguishable from a regular incandescent bulb, lifespan of 10,000 hours, which is 66 percent longer than other energy efficient bulbs (and 10 times longer than a regular bulb); and extra small size that fits comfortably into any lighting fixture," according to the campaign’s website.

According to maketheswitch, a single switch from one 100 watt incandescent bulb to an equivalent 23 watt Illume CFL will save 169 Kwh (kilowatt-hour) per year, thus reducing the electricity bill to Dh 34. Furthermore, the same single switch will also prevent the emission into nature of 101 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide.

To make the Illume bulb even more irresistible, has one million such bulbs to offer at subsidized prices of Dh 10 for a twin pack (Dh 5 per bulb).

Currently, ILLUME Energy Efficient Bulbs are only available at Emarat petrol stations, but an Abu Dhabi point of purchase will be announced in the coming weeks.



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