Energy-efficient light bulbs - are they better for the environment?

Yes. Energy-efficient light bulbs save energy and can also save you money.

Phasing out

In December 2008 it was agreed by EU Member States that energy-intensive incandescent bulbs would start being phased out from 1 September 2009.


Replacing ordinary light bulbs with energy-efficient ones could reduce national electricity consumption by at least 2% (equivalent to one nuclear power station) by 2020.

See this case study by an energy-conscious householder.


Energy-efficient light bulbs cost more to buy initially than a normal incandescent bulb but their longer lifetime will save users about £36 per bulb.

Energy saved

Energy-efficient light bulbs lose less energy in the form of heat. There are two main types: fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL’s).

Energy-efficient bulbs are now readily available from many shops. For details visit the Energy Saving Trust.

Mercury content

Compact fluorescent bulbs now contain less mercury than they used to.

In summer 2007 the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was implemented – requiring the mercury to be removed and the bulbs recycled.

Woman changing lightbulb at home