News story

NMRO investigation into special purpose lamps

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Investigation into the availability, labelling, and prevalence of 'special purpose lamps' in reference to ecodesign legislation.

Incandescent bulb and ecodesign

Ecodesign legislation is in place to promote the development of more efficient electrical products. Regulation EC No 244/2009 focuses on such requirements for non directional household lamps. The National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) assessed the compliance of special purpose lamps and their requirements with regard to the above legislation through a market surveillance project.

Lamps, marketed as special purpose do not have to comply with any ecodesign efficiency requirements. The legislation requires special purpose lamps to be suitably packaged and labelled.

In order to discover if the lamps were compliant the NMRO used a combination of market research and test purchases from a variety of sources. The lamps and packaging were subsequently assessed by NMRO officers.

In total 44 lamps were purchased. Analysis of these lamps and the accompanying packaging showed that manufacturers were meeting their legal obligations.

The NMRO also contacted 29 businesses supplying special purpose lamps, asking them to complete an optional questionnaire. The survey was designed to help understand the industry and show likely future trends in the market. A total of 18 completed questionnaires were received. Based upon the responses it was concluded that industry felt the special purpose lamp market is diminishing due to:

  • improved consumer trust in LED technology
  • reducing cost of LEDs

However, several businesses commented that there is no reasonable LED alternative to the 100 Watt incandescent (traditional) lamp.

This research found special purpose lamps are widespread in a variety of design forms and wattages that are easily obtainable from the high street and online.

The results of the market research showed that some online distributors could be adding to the misconception that special purpose lamps are suitable for household illumination due to descriptions used on their websites.

The European Commission is currently in the process of evaluating lighting legislation with regard to special purpose lamps. This review is to consider the definition of special purpose lamps.

Published 1 December 2014