Since September 1st, 2009 the sale and import of incandescent light bulbs more accurately known as tungsten filament bulbs with the lowest energy efficiency classifications F and G have been banned in Switzerland. In addition, on the same day this country also adopted the EUs incandescent light bulb ban, which legislates for a step-by-step phasing-out of these inefficient light sources. In accordance with the new EU rules, 100 Watt bulbs were banned on September 1st, 2009, and a year later all bulbs rated between 75 and 100 Watts will be withdrawn from the market. After another years transition period, all bulbs rated above 60 Watts and above will be banned, and then finally, on September 1st, 2012 no more conventional incandescent light bulbs will be allowed to be sold. These regulations have met with resistance from many quarters, with a great deal of criticism being directed at compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), often called energy saving lamps. One of the main concerns of opponents of these light sources is the fact that they contain mercury.
Roland Hischier, Tobias Welz und Lorenz Hilty, of Empas «Technology and Society» Laboratory, have examined in detail the different lighting methods currently in use in order to find out which source of illumination is in actual fact the most environmentally friendly. They investigated four different kinds of lamp; the classical incandescent bulb, halogen lamps, fluorescent tubes and energy saving lamps. In order to evaluate the total effect of a lamp on the environment over its entire life the researchers prepared a life cycle analysis for each kind. This takes into consideration the raw material and energy consumption of a lamp during its complete life cycle, from the production and usage to final disposal. The total ecological burden can, for example, be represented by co-called «eco indicator points» (EIPs). The total point tally is a measure of the sum of all the damage the product in question inflicts on human health and the environment, as well as the usage of resources incurred during its manufacture.