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French curb night-time lighting

The measures will come into force on 1 July of this year and apply to both interior and façade lighting. The rules state that organisations must switch lighting in offices off one hour after staff leave the premises; switch shop window lights off between 1-7am; and turn all façade lighting off after 1am.

The move, introduced by France’s minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy Delphine Batho, is expected to save about 2TWh a year. This is the equivalent to the energy consumption of 750,000 homes, according to the ministry. It will also reduce annual CO2 emissions by about 250,000 tonnes. Batho said it would make France a pioneer in Europe in preventing lighting pollution.

There are a few exceptions, such as tourist attractions, where lighting will not be banned.

‘What’s interesting is it’s the first real move from the government towards a public statement on energy efficiency,’ said French lighting consultant, Christophe Richon of LuxFit. ‘On the other hand, the Syndicat de L’Éclairage [the French lighting association]has issued a statement that says [2TWh] is only about 10 per cent of the low-hanging fruit; because if the government asked businesses to implement controls instead, you’d get much higher savings.’

The Syndicat de L’Éclairage believes the government’s savings measure of 2TWh a year for the night ban is too optimistic.

It calculates savings of 0.5TWh. It says lighting controls used day and night could save 16TWh.