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Energy Conservation in France

New York City at night.  Imagine how much energy they are wasting...

New York City at night. Imagine how much energy they are wasting…

Energy conservation.  Not using energy when you don’t have to.  It truly is the “low-hanging fruit” in the fight against climate change.  It costs absolutely nothing (in fact it saves you money), requires little to no effort and it is extremely effective in lowering emission of greenhouse gas.

With that in mind, the French environment ministry announced this past Wednesday that as of July 1st, 2013, “all non-residential buildings will have to switch off interior lights one hour after the last worker leaves the premises”.  In addition, “all exterior and shop window lighting will have to be turned off by 1 am”.  I love it!

With this simple measure, the country will save two terrawatt/hours of electricity.  If, like me, you aren’t quite sure what that means, it is the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 750,000 homes!

Now, just for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that the ration of non-residential buildings to population is the same around the world (I know it probably isn’t, but humour me!).  How many homes’ worth of electricity would a similar policy save in other countries?

  • Canada: 400,000 homes
  • Italy: 696,000 homes
  • UK: 722,000 homes
  • Germany: 936,000 homes
  • Japan: 1.6 million homes
  • USA: 3.6 million homes

And I could go on.

This is a simple, common sense idea that hurts no one, sacrifices virtually nothing but saves an incredible amount of energy.  This is the kind of policy that every country needs.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin Lack permalink
    2013/02/03 10:49 am

    You may have seen this video before, JP… You may have even brought it to my attention once… However, given that photo above, it seems apt to post it here because New York emits 2 tonnes of CO2 per second… If we could see it, it would look like this:

    • 2013/02/03 12:55 pm

      Thanks Martin! That wasn’t me who brought up that video. In fact, I’m going to put it up as a post because the visual is quite amazing!

      • Martin Lack permalink
        2013/02/04 7:08 am

        I am so glad I posted it then; further publicity for it will be no bad thing either. It is indeed amazing and very powerful…

  2. 2013/02/03 4:04 pm

    I love the idea of turning down the city lights at night, very good initiative! – and I love the NYC video. Very illustrative and thought-provoking.
    Thanks for sharing, guys!

  3. 2013/02/10 8:17 am

    Thank you for an illuminating post 😉

    It’s good to see that some places are implementing common sense. Adoption across the planet would be the logical next step… but since when are humans logical? Here in the UK I feel fairly sure that it will be important not to use France as an example, since far too many British people aren’t too keen on the French. Something to do with the Hundred Years’ War, and the inability of people to critically examine their ancestors’ indoctrinations, I think.

    Lighter Later (a 10:10 initiative to adopt a more sensible daylight savings time schedule in the UK) is an example of a move that could have substantial energy and cost savings, but is mired in political manoeuvres.

    • 2013/02/10 9:22 am

      I like the simplicity of what France is doing. And I believe that once they get past the initial complaining phase, French businesses will see the financial advantage and will comply.

      “Illuminating”! Ha! 🙂

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