Over the last year, SEAI has been investigating the lighting sector. A major focus has been on GU10 LEDs, as there have been notable levels of noncompliance in other EU countries and the Lighting Association of Ireland (LAI) highlighted them as being of concern.
SEAI has undertaken checks on more than 200 lamp models. Checks included market screening, technical documentation checks and, in some instances, the physical screening of lamps using a “lab in a suitcase” called LightSpion. Using a risk-based approach 12 lamps have been selected for laboratory testing.
The lamps are being tested at the accredited Lighting Industry Association Laboratories Ltd in the UK. The test results received so far indicate that eight out of 12 of the products tested are non-compliant in one or more ways. With further test results outstanding, this number could be higher by the end of testing.
Tim Stokes, Market Surveillance Programme Manager at SEAI said: “Because these lamps have been chosen for testing based on risk, this level of non-compliance is unlikely to be replicated across the entire range of GU10s on sale in Ireland. Also, some noncompliance such as a lamp declared as an A++ energy label when it is an A+ energy label might be considered more serious than, for example, small inconsistencies in the quality of light produced. Nonetheless, our findings are concerning so we will continue to focus on GU10s, and more widely on the lighting sector.”
The next step will be to engage with the importers and manufacturers concerned to address the non-compliance. Enforcement action can be taken if needed, including a requirement to withdraw lamps from the marketplace.
SEAI is working with industry and others to improve compliance. Says Tim Stokes: “Engaging with industry, particularly through the Lighting Association of Ireland, has been a very important component of our approach. It has informed us regarding compliance issues and helped to promote compliance to businesses in the supply chain.
International collaboration is also important given the free movement of products within the EU market, so we have been liaising with market surveillance bodies in other EU countries, particularly the UK, to share information and avoid duplication.”
Apart from lighting, SEAI is also investigating products in other sectors. Tim Stokes told Building Services News: “Our analysis indicates that space and water heating products are by some distance the most important area for us to focus on. This is because of their level of market penetration and potential for significantly-increased energy consumption due to noncompliance. We have already identified and addressed some non-compliance in the sector and will significantly ramp up our activity during 2019 and beyond.“
He added: “Companies placing products on the market in Ireland need to take great care to ensure that they are compliant with EU regulations. It is our aim to tackle non-compliance robustly to improve consumer confidence, protect the environment and create a level playing field for manufacturers and importers.”