The vote for Britain to leave the European Union may delay benefits UK households would receive as a result of switching to energy efficient LED lighting.
Post Brexit it is expected the UK to suffer huge delays in adopting new EU backed initiatives as government trawls through 40 years of legislation it now has to reimplement itself. This includes employment and labour laws, as well as energy efficiency regulations to name just a few.
In regards to energy efficiency, and lighting products specifically, after the European Commission introduced EC244/2009 for non-directional household halogen and fluorescent lightbulbs and EC245/2009 for fluorescent tubes, ballasts and luminaires respectively in 2009, it inaugurated EU1194/2012 for all remaining LED and directional light sources. These demanded a wholesale shift to more energy efficient lighting solutions by September 2016, including LED lighting.
However having already seen pushbacks to 2018 and the lighting sector being excluded from stricter regulations Brexit may now deliver another blow to a growing LED market by excluding itself from the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) where the UK can currently participate in the development and maintenance of voluntary industry standards.
Consequently this is likely to affect UK households that could benefit from the significant energy savings these products provide. Energy efficient lightbulbs are already as cheap or cheaper than they were expected to be in 2025. This means many could see a return on investment (ROI) within the first year of purchasing an LED product. This is in costrast to only a couple of years ago when an ROI may not have been realised for 2-3 years.
Leading consumer brands and professional lighting companies have taken note of an LED industry currently at warp speed, with IKEA committing to only sell LED lamps from September 2015 and whichledlight.com providing an independent LED comparison website aimed to educate and organise many consumer retrofit products including G9, GU10 and E27 LED lightbulbs. Unfortunately they may not see mass uptake if the UK is not ruling out traditional technologies for some time to come, since it is still often cheaper to buy halogen lightbulbs and too difficult to break consumer habits.
It is certainly not the end for more energy efficient LED products, but is going to have to be a consumer led initiative at least for the near future. If we are to see huge savings in electricity consumption and a break in consumer habits, further educational materials are need to prevent consumers reaching for conventional, cheaper, but often more wasteful alternatives.