In 2009, laws were introduced to prevent retailers from selling incandescent light bulbs to domestic users. Over the past 4 years this has gradually been phased in, leading to concerns that manufacturers will start producing fewer bulbs.

The government campaign was initiated to ensure people only bought low-energy bulbs for their home, a move which aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 5 million tons each year.

So why, as a commercial stage lighting company, are we telling you about a reduction in forms of domestic lighting production?

If you’ve been following stage news closely in the past 6 months, then you’ll no doubt be well aware of the recent campaign aimed at protecting the traditional Tungsten bulb used in theatrical productions. If traditional bulbs are slowly phased out and replaced with energy saving solutions such as LED lighting, stage designers argue that the unique properties of tungsten bulbs will be lost, thus negatively impacting performances that rely on the natural, warm light they emit.

Lighting designers Paul Constable and Neil Austin are heading the campaign after manufacturers have began to rely on other light sources and decrease the number of traditional bulbs they produce.

While stage and lighting designers understand the importance and properties of LED lighting, the campaign centres on a holistic approach to lighting; LED is a practical and responsible choice, but Tungsten should be utilised too in order to achieve the best possible results.

Tungsten lighting additionally has the benefit of fading up and down, a feature lighting designers say makes them ideal for meeting a range of production needs. From the perspective of the lighting designer, Tungsten has the power to evoke emotion and ambience like no other stage lighting solution.

The campaign certainly isn’t anti-environmentally friendly, with green arts organisation Julie’s Bicycle backing the campaign. Speaking to The Stage, chief executive Alison Tickell explained how the increase in LED lighting is positive, but went on to state that Tungsten stage lighting has a minimal environmental effect, considering how long it is used for.

Giving further context to the argument, Tickell also highlights how front of house light and auditorium lighting has a significant environmental impact. There’s simply no sense in obliterating Tungsten lighting for its anti-green credentials when other aspects of theatre lighting are wholly unsustainable.

The campaign is currently on track to meet objectives with tungsten bulb manufacturer Osman pledging to continue producing the lamps.

If you’d like to find out more about stage lighting or lighting a performance space with energy saving solutions, please get in touch with our professional lighting team at PG Stage for advice and inspiration.

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