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Parliamentary questions
PDF 30kWORD 47k
7 June 2010
Answer given by Mr Oettinger on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-0862/2010

The Commission answered the concerns of the Polish researchers in a detailed reply.

The issues raised by the researchers were also addressed by the Commission in answers to previous written questions.

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answers to the following written questions(1), in relation to the individual points he raises:

Questions 1, 3, 4 and 6:

E‑1088/09 by Mr Mote;
E‑6212/09 by Ms Yannakoudakis.

Question 2:

E‑4522/09 by Mr Vanhecke.

Questions 5, 7 and 9:

P‑0146/09 by Ms Koch-Mehrin(2);
E‑1090/09 by Mr Mote.

In relation to Question 2, the Commission mandated the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) in December 2009 to update the conclusions of its opinion on light sensitivity and to carry out an analysis of a wider range of lighting technologies and associated potential health risks(3).

In relation to Question 8, the following aspects have to be considered. When comparing the estimated saving potential of Regulation (EC) No 244/2009 (39 billion kilowatt-hours per year by 2020) to the electricity consumption of the EU, it may seem insignificant (1.4 % of the total final electricity consumption of the 27 Member States in 2006, which was 2826 billion kilowatt-hours). However, the total electricity consumption of the EU includes the consumption of all sectors, namely industry, transport, agriculture etc., not just households. It is clear that in order to fight climate change effectively, all sectors need to contribute. The regulation on non-directional household lamps affects lamp types that are primarily used in households (although to some extent also in non-household applications such as restaurants, hotels, shops etc.). Therefore it is fair to compare the estimated savings to the electricity consumption of the household sector in the EU, which was 807 billion kWh in 2006, of which 5 % will be saved.

These estimates are based on the assumption that households will be using a mixture of improved incandescent bulbs with halogen technology and compact fluorescent lamps. However, switching to the exclusive use of compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs would make economic sense for households, who would save even more energy and money. If all households switched to the exclusive use of compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs, total savings at the EU level would be about 86 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020, which is 11 % of the electricity consumption of households.

The electricity consumption of household lighting is a minor part (3 %) of the total energy consumption of a household (heating and water heating included). However, the regulation on non-directional household lamps is just one of a series of 30 or more Commission regulations (already adopted or being prepared for adoption in the near future) concerning the energy efficiency of different product groups such as televisions, heating boilers, water heaters, standby losses, electric motors, and also the product groups suggested by the Polish researchers, namely vacuum cleaners, freezers, washing machines, air conditioners. These regulations all contribute to a combined impact that will make the real difference in terms of our objectives to reduce energy use and combat climate change.

(1)Available at:
(2)The study referred to in point 4 of the reply to this question is VITO's Domestic Lighting preparatory study for the European Commission, available on the website. The life cycle analysis in Chapter 5 shows the clear overall advantage of compact fluorescent lamps over incandescent bulbs even considering the higher impact in the production phase, as summarised in the last paragraph on page 173.

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