You gotta hand it to German businessman Siegfried Rotthaeuser, who came up with a brilliant run around the European Union ban on conventional incandescent light bulbs — he rebranded them as "Heat Balls" and is importing them for sale as a "small heating device."
Rotthaeuser's website is in German, but Google does a passable job of translation. First, he's clear that the Heat Ball isn't for lighting, stating (in German, the following is translated) "A HEAT BALL ® is not a lamp, but it fits in the same version!"
Further down: "The use of Heat Balls avoids the lack of heat. The intended use of heat Balls is the heating. "
The funny thing about this is that incandescent bulbs are fairly efficient when they are used as heaters, throwing off around 95 percent of the energy they draw as heat. In colder climates, using the bulbs for lighting isn't always an inefficient choice as the bulbs add to the warmth of the home.
The problem is that people will buy Heat Balls primarily as a way around the ban on incandescent bulbs. Rotthaeuser's Heat Balls could end up taking off in a market starved for the familiar warmth of the incandescent bulb.
The solution to this problem is a better lightbulb. We need LEDs and CFL bulbs that offer good light in an inexpensive package. We're getting there but are still more than a few more cycles of R&D away.
In the meantime, if you live in Germany and are jonesing for an incandescent, take a look at the Heat Ball.
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