‘Banning light bulbs not helpful’

Banning light bulbs will not help the climate in the short term. In fact, it will have an adverse effect. This is a surprising conclusion of a study conducted by ECN. Energy efficient lamps have a lower energy use, but they also emit less heat than light bulbs. Consumers compensate this effect by heating up some more. Moreover, the system of emission trading uses fixed ‘ceilings’ until 2020 , i.e. standards for maximum emissions. As a result, the energy that is saved in households is subsequently used up by other sectors.

Source: De Volkskrant, 3 September 2011

This is what Bert Daniëls thinks. He works for ECN Policy Studies and delivered the data on which the article in the Volkskrant is based.

'The article in the Volkskrant is based on information from a letter sent by ECN to the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, in which the effect of intended policy measures for lowering greenhouse gas emissions is calculated. In this article, the so-called Ecodesign guideline, which aims to reduce energy use in households by imposing strict demands on the energy use of domestic and industrial equipment, is indeed given a minus. Part of the readers concluded that ECN considers the ban on light bulbs useless. This is by no means the case. In the longer term, such a ban does save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The additional natural gas use resulting from increased heating is much lower than the energy that is saved. This will make it easier to lower the emission trade ceiling after 2020 without increasing the CO2 price.


Efficient equipment and lighting offer double benefits for the consumer. Lower energy use quickly translates into a lower energy bill. Moreover, lower electricity use decreases the CO2 price in emission trading, which in turn will lower the electricity price.'