Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Feds aim to loosen efficiency rules for new light-bulb type

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OTTAWA -- The federal government wants to relax its energy-efficiency rules to allow Canadians to buy a new kind of light bulb.

The Natural Resources Department says it plans to ease regulations to permit sales of incandescent halogen bulbs, which would otherwise be effectively banned as of Jan. 1 next year.

The department says the proposal would better align Canada's light-bulb rules with those of the United States.

A halogen incandescent bulb is less efficient than compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, which are highly favoured by new energy-efficiency rules that begin to kick in next year.

Traditional incandescent bulbs are generally not permitted under the new rules because the energy they consume produces far too much wasted heat compared with light.

But replacement CFLs can cost as much as $10 more per bulb than incandescents, and they contain a small amount of toxic mercury, which can create disposal problems.

Natural Resources notes a halogen incandescent is more efficient than a traditional bulb, contains no mercury and is comparable in price with CFLs.

The new bulb also offers a different quality of light some consumers favour and has a dimming capacity not always available with CFLs.

The department also says the move would strengthen links with Canada's largest trading partner.

Changing the regulations "would help to support the continued practice of economic integration and strong trade relations with the United States, and a seamless flow of goods within the North American market for these products," says a notice posted Friday.

The proposal must undergo a 75-day consultation period before it can be enacted.

The Conservative government announced an effective ban on incandescent light bulbs in 2007, as pressure built to act on climate change.

The ban was to have come into effect starting Jan. 1, 2012, but was pushed forward two years after consumers raised concerns.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 5, 2013 A23

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