The staggered phase out of energy-wasting light bulbs begins on Sept. 1 in Germany. The unpopularity of the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs that will replace them is leading consumers and retailers to start hoarding the traditional bulbs.
As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU's ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares -- and helping the manufacturers make a bundle.
The EU ban, adopted in March, calls for the gradual replacement of traditional light bulbs with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). The first to go, on Sept. 1, will be 100-watt bulbs. Bulbs of other wattages will then gradually fall under the ban, which is expected to cover all such bulbs by Sept. 1, 2012 (see graphic below).
Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker.
"It's unbelievable what is happening," says Werner Wiesner, the head of Megaman, a manufacturer of energy-saving bulbs. Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). "That's enough for the next 20 years." ...
Article here. As many of you are aware, our "enlightened" leaders have also mandated the end of the venerable incandescent lightbulb, with the mercury-filled compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) to be our luminous and official climate-saving savior. First in the dustbin of darkness will be the evil 100 watters, scheduled to become lux non grata in 2012, progressing to the end of 40 watters by 2014.
I predict that a similar hoarding phenomenon will occur here in the U.S. in 2011, when American consumers realize that they won't be able to get incandescents anymore. "What, you mean I have to buy bulbs that cost 20 times as much, give off crappy fluorescent light, and will expose my kids to mercury if they break?" Yes, my lumen challenged friend, and they probably don't last as long as they say they do, either:
... For example, manufacturers of CFL bulbs justify their higher prices by claiming that they last much longer than traditional bulbs. But a recent test by the environmentally-oriented consumer-protection magazine Öko Test found that 16 of the 32 bulb types tested gave up the ghost after 6,000 hours of use -- or much earlier than their manufacturers had promised.
So expect a similar run on traditional bulbs as we get closer to fluorescent nirvana. Better stock up now before they become collector's items! :)
Correction: The scheduled demise of 100 watters is January 2012, not 2010 as I originally wrote. I have corrected the reference above.