In February 2007 the then Australian Minister for the Environment, Malcolm Turnbull, announced the Federal Government's intention to phase-out inefficient incandescent globes. The intended outcome of the plan was to see the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by Australia reduce by 800,000 tonnes, or 0.14%, annually.
A switch to more efficient lighting
This was to be achieved by the use of more efficient lighting technologies, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light emitting diodes (LEDs) and energy efficient halogen globes. The plan would also see the introduction of 'Minimum Energy Performance Standards' (MEPS) for incandescent lamps and some CFLs, to ensure that only the highest performing products would be available in the Australian marketplace from October 2010.
Terms of the phase-out
Starting in February 2009, an import ban was placed on the traditional pear-shaped incandescent light bulb. Incandescent light globes are infamous for the amount of heat they produce; of the power used to operate an incandescent light bulb, approximately 80% is wasted as heat.
The ban on the sale of incandescent light globes began on 1 November 2009. Then, from 1 October 2010, MEPS was applied to extra low voltage halogen reflector lamps and candle, round and decorative lamps over 40W. The phase out continued with the next stage affecting mains voltage reflector lamps, including halogen (i.e. PAR, ER, and R shapes), and candle, fancy round and decorative tungsten filament lamps larger than 25W from October 2012.
Overall, the phase-out of incandescents is expected to save Australian households more that $50 each year if they change from conventional incandescent globes to CFLs and (even better) LEDs.
In terms of environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions, the plan is touted as the equivalent of permanently removing more than 500,000 cars from the road.