What does the DIM2 legislation mean for you?

Most homeowners in the UK will not have been able to escape new European directives about lighting for their homes. Since 2005 the European Union has been implementing changes to make the lighting in your home more energy efficient and better for the environment. Most of us will remember the withdrawal of incandescent bulbs from shops in September 2012, a trend which is happening across the world. But there have been even more changes implemented to save hours upon hours of electricity across the whole of Europe.

The DIM2 legislation is a new European directive coming into force in September this year. The aim of the legislation is to increase consumer satisfaction with energy-saving lamps – particularly directional halogen and LED models – and increase the information available for people prior to purchase.

It sets out a number of minimum performance and packaging requirements, as well as stipulating key colours to use in packaging to ensure consumers are better able to recognise products that comply with the new rules.

Under the new legislation this autumn, the following performance regulations are coming into place

Directional lamps, such as spotlights and reflectors, will only be able to claim particular wattage replacements if they meet a pre-determined lumen level. This means brightness-wise, they should be more similar. Nine out of ten lamps must still be viable and have at least 80 per cent of their starting lumen levels after 6000 burning hours – the equivalent of 250 days of continuous use.

A survival rate of a minimum of 1000 hours (41 days) is obligatory for 95 per cent of lamps.

Colour should be natural and variation should be almost invisible to the human eye

EcoDesign regulations also state that product information should be on the lamp itself, instead of just the packaging, to ensure data is more easily accessible to consumers. Given that the majority of people throw away packaging after fitting a halogen or LED lamp, this is particularly useful. This information must include the lumen levels, the temperature of the colour in Kelvin (lower numbers are warmer, higher numbers are more blue) and the direction of beam in degrees.

But before consumers get the product home, they rely on packaging to tell them exactly what they're buying. The packing must include –

The official energy efficiency labelling (EEL), a symbol that most consumers are now familiar with the lifetime of the bulb/lamp in hours and number of switching cycles (the number of times it can be switched on and off, as this process causes extra wear on the lamp).

  • Energy consumption in kWh
  • Lamp/bulb size and colour temperature
  • Lumen levels and wattage equivalent
  • The beam angle in degrees and directional lamp beam angle (which must be less than 90 degrees)
  • LED and halogen lamps must have a warning that they are unsuitable for accent lighting

However, a specific shade of purple must also be used on all lamps that comply with the DIM2 legislation to show consumers in a visual way what they are buying. Most consumers will not notice a huge change, but these small tweaks aim to ensure everyone is more informed.