The UK government today announced that the sale of halogen bulbs for household use will be banned from September to cut a predicted 1.26 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of removing over half a million cars from UK roads.
How might this impact microscopy illumination?
When you consider this news alongside plans to follow suit with fluorescent lighting (and increased pressure on banning mercury*), the direction we are headed in becomes clear: old and inefficient lighting is being phased out and replaced with efficient and longer-lasting LEDs.
Trends in specialised applications such as microscopy often follow in the footsteps of the consumer world, and we predict an even greater number of labs shifting to LED microscope lighting for both fluorescence and transmitted illumination.
What’s the alternative?
The LED technology to replace halogen bulbs for microscopy illumination is already well established and the CoolLED pT-100-WHT provides a multitude of reasons to switch, which even go beyond the environmental benefits:
- Colour temperature remains constant as irradiance is increased/decreased which makes colour balancing unnecessary and improves standardisation between sessions.
- Reduction in harmful UV exposure to the eyes, which is ideal for long hours at the microscope.
- Convenient operation (instant on/off, 0-100% irradiance control, high-speed TTL triggering).
- Energy efficiency and longer lifetime is not only great for the environment but saves money.
Making a sustainable choice
In addition to banning old lighting, we are currently witnessing the introduction of initiatives to help consumers and scientists alike make sustainable purchasing choices. In the consumer world, the energy efficiency rating is now being simplified to an easy-to-understand A-G system (instead of A+ to A+++); for scientists this is mirrored by the ACT Label from My Green Lab. ACT stands for Accountability, Consistency and Transparency, and is like an “eco-nutrition label” for lab products. Each label provides a score which reflects the environmental impact of manufacturing, using, and disposing of a product and its packaging.
In the near future…
Today’s news marks another milestone for LED microscopy illumination as part of our sustainable future. We predict that it will soon be the norm for us as consumers and scientists to choose the most sustainable technologies available. Especially if this provides an edge in grant awards – as the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is now planning to consider environmental sustainability as part of funding decisions, grants and training terms.
In the meantime, if you have any questions on LED illumination for your microscope, please contact us.
*Mercury is a component of metal halide microscopy illumination, and the Minamata convention, which is an agreement to address widespread mercury pollution, has now been adopted by 131 countries, with increasing pressure from the United Nations to ban mercury-based lamps. For more information, see:
United Nations Environmental Programme (2017). Minamata Convention on Mercury. Available at: http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Portals/11/documents/Booklets/COP1%20version/Minamata-Convention-booklet-eng-full.pdf (downloaded 09 June 2021)