In moves that are likely to accelerate the complete dominance of LED light sources in all types of public lighting, there are increasing steps being taken internationally to ban legacy lamp types.
These legislative and regulatory changes go well beyond the current bans on mercury vapour lamps that resulted from the global Minamata Convention on Mercury. The changes now being enacted are motivated by both the lower efficiency of legacy lamp types and because of their mercury content (mercury is found not just in the recently banned mercury vapour lamps but in fluorescent, compact fluorescent, high pressure sodium and metal halide lamps).
Here is a brief snapshot of what is occurring elsewhere:
- California and Vermont have banned fluorescent lamps with other US states considering similar bans;
- Canada has recently proposed banning fluorescent lamps and most types of HID lamps with eliminating mercury content being cited as the key motivator;
- The UK has recently proposed changes to minimum energy efficiency standards that would effectively ban all fluorescent and HID lamps; and
- The EU is progressively removing exemptions for various types of mercury containing lamps
In practice, the rise of LEDs and these growing regulatory restrictions have meant that global lamp manufacturers have already ceased production of many legacy lamp types. In the Australia and New Zealand street lighting sector, legacy lamp types are entirely imported and local distributors report that legacy lamp types are increasingly hard to obtain with lead times of 30 weeks now typical for some lamp types. So, even without similar bans here, the impacts are likely to be significant. As existing compact fluorescent and HID lamps in legacy luminaires of all types fail, customers are increasingly going to have to consider replacement of the luminaire itself with a modern LED fixture. And, as IPWEA has highlighted in its SLSC Program, that may be a good thing for both the environment and the bottom line with LEDs having a lower total cost of ownership that is typically 25% lower than legacy lighting types.