Philippines joins light bulb ban trend

The Philippines is set to become the first country in Asia to phase out traditional light bulbs in favour of more energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced the country’s plans to phase out incandescent bulbs by January 2010 in a speech to the 2008 Philippine Energy Summit.

It follows similar moves in a number of countries around the world, including Australia, which has already passed legislation to ban standard bulbs from 2010, and Ireland, which is consulting the public on its proposals to ban them next year.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are more expensive than traditional bulbs, but use about 20% less electricity and last six to ten times longer.

Experts estimate the switch to CFLs will result in household lighting costs in the Philippines falling by as much as 80%, and the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions falling by 2m metric tonnes from 2010.

National electricity demand is expected to fall by 2,000 megawatts – equivalent to the electricity generated by six power plants.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting the Philippine government’s Department of Energy to develop plans to address climate change and reduce energy consumption and is considering extending a $30m loan to the country later this year to help fund energy efficiency schemes.

“The most effective way we can reduce energy demand and greenhouse gases is by using energy more efficiently,” said Thomas Crouch, deputy director general of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

“The climate challenge is a global one. ADB will support and encourage other developing countries to follow the government of Philippines’ lead and make the switch to more energy efficient products.”

If the ADB grants the funding, it could be used to provide CFLs to low-income families.

Fears about the health impacts of low-energy lightbulbs were raised in the UK last month. Some experts believe they can trigger migraines and aggravate skin conditions such as eczema.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie