Normally here at Greener Power we are keen to endorse any new technologies that can improve the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses, but when it comes at the expense of consumers that aren’t given any choice on the matter, we are not so keen to blow our green trumpets. This has definitely been the case with the implementation of the MEM 3 Pin Lightbulbs in new-build UK housing stock.
A quick summation of the background to this issue. In 2006, changes to Part L of the Building Regulations stipulated that most new and refurbished homes in the UK have to install light-fittings that only accept energy efficient three-pin and four-pin bulbs. This is all well and good, these are much more energy efficient than the ‘traditional’ incandescent bulb types in the old housing stock. Unfortunately, this is where the good points end for this particular bulb.
There are three main problems with these 3 pin bulbs:
1) Unlike the traditional bulb which you could get a 3 for £1 or something, these 3 pin MEM (compact fluorescent lamps ‘CFLs’ or ‘energy-saving’ bulbs) bulbs cost about £10 each. This has led to a number of associations dealing with rightfully irate resident feedback about these unconventional fittings.
2) They and do not provide any additional energy saving benefit to equivalent two-pin low-energy bulbs, which you can get for about £1.
3) Only MEM mannufacture them
There is much more on this important issue which hasn’t got the attention it deserves over at Dan Lockton’s ‘Design with Intent‘ blog. He has covered the entire issue from its inception and has a wide range of information on the subject, including a guide on how to fit a normal bulb into a 3 pin socket! (for the more determined or technically minded).
Hopefully, someone will see sense on this issue eventually and either stump up the cash to pay for these bulbs for redsidents or alter the building regulations to allow other types of bulbs to be used in new housing stock.
This post was prompted by a debate on Radio 4 today (15/03) at lunchtime, hopefully this will be available on the BBC iPlayer soon.