Sustainable trends in focus at Elfack: out with fluorescent tubes, in with charging infrastructure!

Linda-Take-SKEIndustry associations will raise sustainability issues at Elfack 2025.

– If we are to move away from fossil fuels, we need to build the charging infrastructure. And if we are to save energy, we must phase out fluorescent tubes, says Mikael Castanius, CEO of trade associations Elmateriel Leverantörerna och Belysningsbranschen (Electrical Equipment Suppliers and the Lighting Industry).

The idea is that sustainable solutions will feature prominently both on the stands and in the stage programme at Elfack, in which the industry associations are participating.

Mikael Castanius emphasises the strong commitment of the member companies:

– They are absolutely state-of-the-art, transparent and able to show in detail what the materials in the products contain, he says.

– This is very important from many perspectives. It’s about circularity and reuse. For example, we have projects underway with recycling companies to minimise the number of residual products.

Fluorescent tubes – a mystery

The trend is also driven by political decisions, such as the EU decision to phase out mercury-containing fluorescent tubes over five years, starting in 2023.

– That’s our really big challenge right now. We’re putting a huge focus on it, for two reasons: firstly, we want to sell better and get more efficient installations, and secondly, we want to dispel the notion that this is not a problem. Many people still think they can continue to buy fluorescent tubes when the old ones stop working, which they probably can’t, Mikael says.

The benefits of modern lighting have long been recognised. Yet investment is slow, especially in public spaces.

– That’s where we see the major consequences: in schools, in hospitals, on the Stockholm metro, Mikael says. The fact that it doesn’t happen more in the public sector is a mystery to me. I don’t know how many years we’ve been nagging and nagging, you’d think everyone would know about it by now.

Not taking running costs into account

LED solutions with light control may cost more to buy, but they use significantly less energy from day one – and therefore pay for themselves quickly.

– The savings are enormous, reducing energy consumption by more than 50 per cent and even more when replacing outdated installations.

The biggest obstacle is the strong focus on the purchase price:

– In the municipalities, one committee decides whether to purchase equipment, while another is responsible for its operation. They often only look at the purchase price, without even considering the running costs, Mikael sighs.

– The tough economic situation for many municipalities and regions makes our challenge even greater. We need to get the message out about the urgency of phasing out fluorescent tubes: otherwise we will be in the dark; something has to be done.

Trend towards more efficient solutions

The lighting industry intends to push the message about fluorescent tubes at Elfack.

– We want both to inform people and help them to do the right thing. This makes Elfack 2025 more important for lighting companies than it has been for a very long time!

On the electrical equipment side, Mikael Castanius sees great potential in the charging infrastructure.

– It needs to grow faster. There are incredible opportunities here, and it is of course crucial for those who are going to buy an electric car and equally important for a sustainable society.

Mikael also sees a clear trend towards energy-efficient solutions.

– It will dominate the agenda at Elfack too, I am convinced of that. There is a lot to do here. We’ve been talking about smart buildings for ages – but how much progress have we actually made?

– This development is linked to the electrification of society as a whole, to interconnect and reduce energy costs. We can expect new requirements from the EU and legislation in this area as well. We have a lot to talk about at Elfack!

Elfack is Northern Europe’s largest trade fair for the entire electricity and energy industry. You can find out more about programmes and activities at The trade fair will take place from 6 to 9 May 2025 at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre Gothia Towers in Gothenburg.