German Firm Bemoans European Ban on Incandescent Bulbs, to Sell Heatballs

A German company bemoaning the European ban on incandescent light bulbs as a “loss of lighting culture” is offering “heatballs” to consumers in the region’s biggest economy.

The company, DTG Trading GmbH, decided to sell heatballs after the European Union in 2005 agreed to set higher environmental standards for household products to help protect the environment. The EU started to phase out traditional bulbs in 2009, with a full ban due by September 2012.

“Heatballs are technically very similar to the classic light bulb, but they’re not meant to be used for lighting, but for heating,” DTG says on its website. Heatballs “fit into any conventional socket” made for light bulbs, the company says.

The 2005 EU eco-design legislation covers electrical goods, electronic devices and heating equipment and is part of the 27- nation’s push to improve energy efficiency by 20 percent in 2020. German consumers stocked up on traditional light bulbs for chandeliers and other lamps after the measure was announced.

“In houses with passive heating, the warmth that’s produced by light bulbs accounts for a significant share of heating energy,” DTG says in elaborating on the use of its products. “Swapping light bulbs for energy-saving lamps reduces this share, which has to be supplied by other means.”

DTG says heatballs are very efficient as they convert 95 percent of the supplied energy into heat and only 5 percent into light. DTG will donate a share of its revenue for projects that aim to protect rain forests, the company says.

“Heatball means resistance against directives that are beyond democratic and parliamentarian control that put citizens under tutelage,” the company says. “Heatball also means resistance to the disproportionality of measures to protect the environment.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rainer Buergin in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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