United Nations Environment Programme environment for development
BRIGHTEN UP! <br />Making the switch to efficient lighting

BRIGHTEN UP!
Making the switch to efficient lighting

“The transition to energy efficient lighting is one of the most straightforward and cost-effective approaches to significantly reduce the threat of global climate change.”
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director 

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The Issue

Lighting from electricity accounts for approximately 15 to 19 per cent of global energy consumption and over five per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Unless policies are implemented immediately to address this issue, overall energy consumption for lighting will have grown by 60 to 70 per cent by 2030 with dramatic consequences for climate change. The phase-out of inefficient incandescent lamps provides one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Close to 50% of developing countries and emerging economies have not yet developed national efficient lighting strategies. The lack of technical capacities and financial means may limit countries to take action. A coordinated effort towards energy efficient lighting would help create the necessary governance, technical and financial conditions to support these countries address the barriers they face as they work to adopt the policies that will place their markets on the path to efficiency.

Intervention

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - Global Environment Facility (GEF) en.lighten initiative is a public-private partnership created to accelerate a global market transformation to environmentally sustainable lighting technologies. UNEP en.lighten has developed a coordinated global strategy for the phase-out of inefficient lighting with a focus on providing technical and policy support to developing countries. In doing so, it aims to strengthen capacities among governments, private sector and civil society to lead successful lighting market transformation programmes.

Currently, the en.lighten initiative is focusing on the phase-out of inefficient incandescent lighting in the residential sector. The expansion into other sectors with other lighting technologies, such as innovative light emitting diodes (LEDs) and controls, would significantly cut electricity bills, improve grid and system reliability, reduce fuel imports, improve end-user welfare, and mitigate CO2 emissions.

UNEP has convened government representatives and international lighting experts from over 40 organizations representing 30 countries to provide guidance to developing countries on how to develop and implement successful efficient lighting strategies.

The en.lighten initiative supports national regulators and regional bodies in the development of policies, strategies and actions for the phase-out of inefficient lighting products. As part of the en.lighten initiative, UNEP has published Country Lighting Assessments for over 150 countries for on-grid and for 80 countries for off-grid lighting. The Country Lighting Assessments highlight the energy, financial and CO2 savings potential of efficient lighting. UNEP en.lighten also has an online Global Lighting Policy Map that provides an overview of readiness of countries with regard to efficient lighting policies, programmes and successes.

Successes

Over 80% of the world’s population lives in countries which have phased-out inefficient incandescent lamps.

Sixty-four developing and emerging countries have joined the en.lighten Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme and committed to transition their markets to energy efficient lighting by phasing out inefficient incandescent lamps by 2016. In 2013 Chile, Uruguay, and Central America successfully launched and adopted their national and regional strategies.

The Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme members will save over US $7.5 billion and 35 million tonnes of CO2 annually. UNEP estimates that replacing all inefficient on-grid lighting globally would result in 939 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity savings annually, which is equivalent to approximately US $100 billion in avoided electricity bills and approximately 490 million tonnes of CO2 savings annually.

The on-grid efficient lighting transition would also save approximately US $210 billion in avoided investment costs for 252 large coal-fired power plants.