Hon David Parker
Minister of Energy
17 June 2008
Embargoed to 0830 Tuesday 17 June 2008.
Lights out for the incandescent bulb
The traditional incandescent light bulb is on its way out, as part of a strategy for more energy efficient lighting
announced today by Energy Minister David Parker and Government Spokesperson on Energy Efficiency and Conservation
“The traditional light bulb is very old technology - and very inefficient. Only five percent of the energy it uses
generates light – the rest is wasted as heat,” David Parker said.
“It is intended that from late next year, these inefficient incandescent bulbs will be phased out because they waste so
much energy. There’s a whole new generation of lighting coming through that is more cost-effective, saves energy and is
better for the environment.”
The Efficient Lighting Strategy launched today has been developed in partnership between the lighting industry, the
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, and the Electricity Commission.
The Strategy sets a pathway to reduce lighting energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2015. It will do this through a
number of actions, including helping Kiwis embrace efficient, affordable lighting technology and phasing out the least
efficient lighting products by setting minimum energy performance standards.
At the launch of the strategy today, David Parker and Jeanette Fitzsimons surveyed the growing range of energy efficient
light bulbs now available, for a range of uses around the home.
“Technology is moving quickly in this area,” Jeanette Fitzsimons said. “There’s already an excellent range of modern,
stylish energy efficient light bulbs on the market that save money and power for New Zealanders. The Electricity
Commission is subsidising a number of these, so they’re cheaper for families to buy.”
“Each year we spend approximately $660 million on electricity for lighting in this country, generating about 2.65
million tones of greenhouse gas emissions.”
“New Zealanders will be able to save almost $500 million by 2020, just by changing the lights,” Jeanette Fitzsimons
For a copy of the Efficient Lighting Strategy visit www.electricitycommission.govt.nz
What is a Minimum Energy Performance Standard?
Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) are designed to remove the least energy efficient products from the market.
Products that do not meet the set standard cannot be sold in New Zealand. MEPS have been used for some time on products
such as fridges, heat pumps and hot water cylinders. MEPS are planned for a range of lighting types, starting with
traditional incandescent bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Lamps and extra-low voltage halogen non-reflector lamps in October
next year. There will be a process of consultation on the standard that will include identifying any potential
Removing the least efficient products from the market is expected to create cumulative energy and environmental savings
of up to $500 million by 2020.
Will I still be able to buy traditional light bulbs from October 2009?
Not for long. Once the Standard is introduced, no new stocks of traditional inefficient light bulbs would be able to be
brought into the country for sale because they would not meet the standards. You would only be able to buy them until
existing stocks are sold out.
Will I have to replace all my light bulbs once the MEPS come into effect?
No. The MEPS is intended to stop the product being sold, but does not affect those already in use.
What efficient lighting options are there?
There are a range of choices including Compact Fluorescent Lamps, or CFLs, energy saver halogens, fluorescent tubes and
CFLs are more cost-effective over the life of the bulb because they use 80% less energy and last eight to 10 times as
long as standard bulbs. CFLs have come a long way over the last couple of years and are now available in a range of
shapes, sizes, and colours and can be used in a wider range of applications, such as with dimmers and in down lights.
There are new energy saver halogens coming on to the market that look just like standard incandescent bulbs but are 30%
more efficient and last twice as long.
Is the mercury in CFLs a risk?
It is only a risk if the bulb is broken – but even then the amount inside an individual lamp is not large enough to pose
a hazard to users if handled sensibly. For further information on safe disposal see http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/waste/
What types of efficient lighting are being subsidised?
The Electricity Commission has expanded their successful lighting subsidies programme to include a range of efficient
lighting options. Details are available at www.energywise.govt.nz