German "Heatball" Outwits Light Bulb Ban

A German entrepreneur bypassed a ban on light bulbs of more than 60 watts with an ingenious idea. Siegfried Rotthaeuser came up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs by importing them as “small heating devices” and selling them as “heatballs.” To improve energy efficiency, Germany has banned the sale of bulbs over 60 watts. Rotthaeuser, who is a mechanical engineer, realized that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light, they could legally be sold as heaters. Costing just $1.98, the heatballs were a hit, with the initial batch of 4,000 selling out in just three days. Rotthaeuser has pledged to donate 30 cents of every heatball sold to saving the rainforest, which the 59-year-old sees as a better way of protecting the environment than investing in energy-saving light bulbs.