DIM1, DIM2 and CO2 emissions. A green lighting story

The year 2009 probably marked the most important action of the European Union, in terms of CO2 emission reduction, by phasing out energy inefficient lamps. It was called Eco-Design Regulation 244/2009, first stage, but it is better known as DIM1, Domestic Implementation Measures 1.

DIM1 refers to non directional lamps and immediately introduced the restriction on the sales of all 100W+ GLS, frosted incandescent and not-clear halogen lamps. Following this, all the clear-halogen lamps that are rated as class D and E were to be phased out by September 2012. This process will continue year by year. For example, Class C lamps should be phased out by 2016.

DIM 2 was published in December 2012, and is the follow-on to DIM 1. It covers directional light sources such as the MR16 type, including LEDs and seeks to phase out inefficient lamps, such as conventional low-voltage halogen lamps, starting with the worst performing in September 2013. The proposals include both domestic and commercial luminaires, again setting minimum energy performance requirements. Furthermore a full review of the legislation’s effect will take place in 2015. It has been calculated that when completed, the change to more energy efficient lamps should reduce domestic lighting energy consumption across the EU by 30 per cent, equivalent to cutting a massive 23 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year

The European Union remains committed to achieving its objectives in the fight against climate change, including the reduction of primary energy use by 20%, compared to business as usual, by 2020. Energy efficiency products are a cornerstone in aiming to achieve this target. Lighting may represent up to a fifth of a household's electricity consumption. This means that upgrading the lamps could reduce a household's total electricity consumption by up to 10-15% and easily save 50€ / year (taking into account the purchasing cost of lamps).

Thanks to this regulation, EU citizens are expected to save close to 40 billion kWh and reduce CO2 emission by about 15 million tons per year by 2020, and are thus expected to reinject about 5-10 billion Euros into the EU economy.

The growing importance of LED lighting has already been mentioned. The technology has been spoken about for a decade or more, but only recently has it begun to have the kind of positive impact on general lighting. It has taken some time for LEDs to become truly economically viable, but now that the technology is  delivering an equivalent acceptable colour rendering, which matches that of the incandescent lamps, it is intended to replace, as well as offer high energy efficiency and an extremely long working life. There are many other important benefits, with the most important being a reduction in lighting electricity consumption of between 40% and 80%.