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United Nations Push for Global Energy Efficient Lighting

This press release is posted with permission from Global Environment Facility.

Energy-efficient lighting toolkitWashington DC, Oct. 16, 2012 - New guidance for lighting efficiency programs will save government resources, speed the transition to energy-efficient lighting, boost economies, and mitigate climate change.

In a letter sent on Oct. 16, 2012, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO is announcing the availability of the new Toolkit “Achieving the Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting,” created in association with the United Nations Environment Program's 

en.lighten initiative. This book is an unparalleled resource for providing guidance for countries to transform their markets to energy-efficient lighting. The Toolkit highlights best practice examples that countries have successfully implemented to move their economies to efficient lighting and mitigate climate change.

Lighting is responsible for 19 percent of global electricity consumption and if not addressed immediately, global consumption for lighting will see a 60 percent increase by the year 2030. Without significant improvements in efficiency, this growth will have dramatic climate consequences. The phase-out of inefficient lamps is one of the most straightforward and cost effective ways to significantly reduce carbon emissions.

However, despite technological improvements, most developing countries have not taken steps towards this transition. Countries that have not made the shift may be unsure about how to begin efficiency programs, or lack the necessary resources and know-how.

In her letter announcing the Toolkit, Dr. Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson said “The GEF, together with UNEP and its international partners, encourages countries to use this Toolkit to protect the environment, save energy, grow their economies, and become more competitive in the global arena.”

The en.lighten initiative is currently working with 46 countries worldwide to develop National Efficient Lighting Strategies based on the best practices reflected in the Toolkit. Partners in the initiative led by UNEP include Philips, Osram, and the National Lighting Test Centre in Beijing, China.

The content of the Toolkit is presented in practical, action-oriented terms to be utilized by those responsible for drafting policies – environment or energy departments or agencies – but also by public utilities, private sector and civil society organizations.

According to a UNEP assessment released last June, a total of five percent of global electricity consumption could be saved every year through a transition to efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide savings of over $110 billion.

The yearly savings in electricity of the phase-out would be equivalent to closing over 250 large coal-fired power plants, resulting in avoided investment costs of approximately $210 billion. Additionally, the 490 megatons of CO2 savings per year is equivalent to the emissions of more than 122 million mid-size cars.

"One of the most cost-effective ways to contribute to the reduction of global carbon emissions is the phase-out of inefficient lighting technologies," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.

Due to the technological shift towards innovative LED technology, there is a great opportunity for countries to leapfrog to this advanced lighting solution in national markets.

Although LED lamps are currently expensive to buy for individual consumers, bulk procurement by governments, tax incentives and subsidies are making them a viable alternative.  LEDs do not contain any mercury and last up to ten times longer than their CFL counterparts.

Countries that have joined the en.lighten Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme include: Algeria, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinee, Guinee Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Russian Federation,  Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Thailand, Togolese Republic, Tonga, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Yemen.  

Key Facts About Efficient Lighting: