How Do You Sell Illegal Lightbulbs in the EU? Just Call Them Heatballs Instead!

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The EU banned lightbulbs that suck more than 60 watts to improve the energy efficiency of an entire continent. And responding with the proverbial "F U" are two Germans, importing high-wattage bulbs and marketing them as heating devices called "heatballs."

But Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law aren't just run of the mill entrepreneurs with an eye for a good loophole—the former is a mechanical engineer. Using his electrical savvy, he figured that because traditional 60 watt lightbulbs output 95% of their energy in the form of heat—only the rest is light—75 and 100 watt bulbs could be legitimately marketed and sold as little radiators.


Rotthaeuser is open about the legislative scam he's pulling, calling the Heatballs a form of "resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes." He also says he'll donate 30 cents of every Heatball sold to rainforest conservation, to assuage some of the guilt of grid inefficiency. What do you think, EU readers? Is this man a lighting hero or just a scofflaw out for a dollar? Or both? Either way, you have to admit his plan takes some serious... ah, forget it. [Reuters]

Photo by shuttermonkey