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France’s simple step to save energy: Shut off the lights

February 16, 2013

France’s simple step to save energy: Shut off the lights

By requiring shops and offices to turn off their lights at night, France will save the energy it takes to power 750,000 homes.

Effective July 1, all nonresidential buildings must shut off their lights an hour after the last worker leaves or by 1 a.m. each morning. They can’t turn them on again until 7 a.m. or just before they open. Major tourist attraction as exempt, like the 20,000 flashing bulbs on the Eiffel Tower, which are already turned off each night for a period of time, and public displays, such as Christmas tree decorations at the Champs-Elysees.

Besides savings on energy and emissions, France wants to pioneer addressing light pollution. Environmental minister Delphine Batho hopes the ban will reduce the negative impact that artificial lights have on ecosystems and wildlife, as well as on human sleep patterns.

The law is one of many measures the new government is implementing to increase energy efficiency and renewables. The country, which for so long has been held up as a model for relying on nuclear is moving away from that and toward renewable energy. The French government also wants to ban natural gas fracking.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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