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All light bulbs sold in Singapore to be minimally of LED efficiency level from 2023

The National Environment Agency (NEA) announced in a press release on Friday (26 October) that it will be raising the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) of lamps so as to phase out halogen bulbs and accelerate the switch among consumers to using more energy efficient lamps, as well as introducing MEPS for fluorescent lamp ballasts.

According to the authority, this is to have all light bulbs sold in Singapore to be minimally as energy efficient as LED bulbs from 2023 onwards as part of the vision for Singapore to move towards becoming an energy efficient nation, and said to save households about $3.5 million in energy costs annually.

The authority also said that it will also be introducing two other enhancements to the Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme (MELS) along with these two measures, which includes extending MELS to more lamp types and mandating the display of energy labels, which indicate the energy efficiency of appliances, in all local print, broadcast and digital media that promote appliances regulated under the Energy Conservation Act (ECA).

All four measures will come into effect on 1 November 2019.

Under the current MEPS regulations, incandescent bulbs must attain at least a one-tick rating, while light emitting diode (LED) bulbs must attain at least a two-tick rating on the Energy Label if they are brought into Singapore for sale here.

From 1 November 2019, the MEPS for incandescent bulbs will be raised to the two-tick level to match the standards in place for other regulated lamps. The impact on the market will be minimal as incandescent bulbs account for only about 5 per cent of all regulated lamps sold in Singapore.

NEA states that cost-effective and energy efficient substitutes such as LED bulbs are available, noting that while LED bulbs are generally more expensive than halogen bulbs, LED bulbs use about 80 per cent less electricity and can last longer, making them cost effective.

"Households will reap both energy and cost savings by switching from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs." said NEA.

Source: NEA.

NEA will also introduce MEPS for fluorescent lamp ballasts. Fluorescent lamps typically require a ballast to start the lamp and regulate the electric current. Ballasts constantly consume energy when the lamp is lit. Under this enhancement to MEPS, ballasts sold in Singapore must minimally conform to the EU’s Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) class B1 from 1 November 2019.

This measure will result in the phase out of inefficient ballasts in Singapore, claims NEA.

Currently, MELS covers incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps with integrated ballasts (CFLi) and their direct LED replacements. These regulated lamps make up 65 per cent of total lamp sales in Singapore. Linear fluorescent lamps (LFL) and compact fluorescent lamps without integrated ballasts (CFLni) make up half and one-third respectively of lamps that are currently not subject to regulation.

Therefore, MELS will also be expanded to cover LFL and CFLni, as well as their direct LED replacements, from 1 November 2019. With this expansion, MELS will cover more than 80 per cent of total lamp sales in Singapore.

NEA said that it hopes consumers will be better able to differentiate and select more energy efficient models with the help of the energy labels.

Under the current MELS, suppliers are required to affix energy labels on regulated appliances. In addition to in-store displays, retailers and suppliers often promote their products via print and digital media such as brochures, advertisements and online purchasing platforms.

NEA will then mandate that energy labels be displayed in  all advertisements and promotional material in local print, broadcast and digital media to help consumers choose more energy efficient appliances and benefit from life cycle cost savings. In cases where the available space is too small for the energy label to be seen clearly, the tick rating must be prominently displayed. Examples of how the energy label or tick rating can be displayed are shown below:

(Left) Example of how an energy label is to be displayed in advertisements - (Right) Example of how the tick rating is to be prominently displayed in advertisements (Source: NEA).

The announcement of these four new measures follows stakeholder consultations conducted from April to June 2018 through platforms such as REACH and industry briefing sessions.

“It is important for consumers to be able to differentiate energy-saving products, such as LED lamps, from less energy efficient products. This allows them to make informed choices and benefit from the greater durability, light quality and lower energy consumption of LED lamps, which results in cost savings for families in the long run,” said Mr William Song, Head of Sales Marketing (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa) at LEDVANCE – a lighting supplier who participated in the industry consultation sessions.

Source: NEA.