Energy inefficient light bulbs to be phased out as part of NEA measures to go green

A total of 60.6km of LED rope lights were used during the Christmas light-up 2017 in Orchard Road. LED bulbs use about 80 per cent less electricity and can last longer, making them cost effective.
A total of 60.6km of LED rope lights were used during the Christmas light-up 2017 in Orchard Road. LED bulbs use about 80 per cent less electricity and can last longer, making them cost effective.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - From 2023, all light bulbs sold in Singapore are likely to be as energy efficient as a light emitting diode (LED) bulb.

The move is part of the Republic's efforts to go green.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it is making the first step towards this target by raising the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) of lamps from Nov 1 next year in order to phase out those with low energy efficiency, such as halogen lamps.

The move will save households about $3.5 million in energy costs annually, the NEA said in a statement on Friday (Oct 26).

Tungsten halogen lamps, which are a type of incandescent lamp, are the least energy efficient lamps sold here.

Eventually, the agency aims for all light bulbs here to be minimally as energy efficient as LED bulbs from 2023.

Under current MEPS regulations, incandescent bulbs imported into the country for sale should be of at least a one-tick rating on the energy label, while LED bulbs should attain at least two ticks.

The NEA said that the change will have minimal impact on the market, as incandescent bulbs account for about 5 per cent of all regulated lamps sold here.

Cost-effective and energy efficient alternatives, such as LED bulbs, are also widely available.

LED bulbs may be generally more expensive than halogen bulbs, but they use about 80 per cent less electricity and can last longer, making them cost effective, the NEA added.

The NEA is also introducing MEPS for fluorescent lamp ballasts, which regulate electric current to the lamps and provide sufficient voltage to start them.

Ballasts sold here should minimally conform to the European Union's Energy Efficiency Index class B1 from Nov 1 next year.

Enhanced Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme

On top of the two measures, the NEA also announced enhancements to the Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme (MELS).

These include extending the scheme to cover more lamp types and mandating the use of energy labels, which show the energy efficiency of appliances, in all publicity materials.

Currently, MELS covers incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps with integrated ballasts (CFLi) and their direct LED replacements.

These regulated lamps make up 65 per cent of total lamp sales in Singapore.

The rest, such as linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) and compact fluorescent lamps without integrated ballasts (CFLnis), are currently not subject to regulation.

LFLs make up about half of the unregulated lamps, while CFLnis comprise a third of this group.

The NEA said that it will be expanding MELS to include LFLs and CFLnis, as well as their direct LED replacements, from Nov 1 next year.

With this, the expansion is expected to cover more than 80 per cent of total lamp sales here.

Helping consumers choose

To help consumers choose more energy efficient appliances and reap the benefits of life cycle cost savings, the NEA will also make displaying the energy labels in all print, broadcast, and digital media advertisements mandatory.

If the available space is too small for the energy label to be seen clearly, the tick rating must be prominently displayed, the NEA said.

Currently, suppliers are only required to affix energy labels on regulated appliances.

But the NEA has recognised that retailers and suppliers often promote their products on print and digital platforms, including brochures and online purchasing sites.

The NEA said that it conducted stakeholder consultations from April to June via government feedback unit Reach and industry briefing sessions.

Mr William Song, Ledvance's head of sale marketing for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, who participated in the industry consultation sessions, said that it is crucial for consumers to be able to differentiate between energy-saving products and less efficient ones.

"This allows them to benefit from the greater durability, light quality and lower energy consumption of LED lamps, which results in cost savings for families in the long run," he said.