31 Oct 2012 Press release Climate change

New UN Collaborating Centre for Energy Efficient Lighting Opens in Beijing

Beijing (China), 31 October 2012 - Efforts by developing countries to phase-out inefficient incandescent lamps received a significant boost today as the UN and partners announced the opening of the Global Efficient Lighting Centre (GELC) in Beijing, China.

Launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Chinese National Lighting Test Centre, GELC is designed to support the rapid deployment of energy-efficient technologies in developing and emerging countries.

To date, almost 50 developing and emerging countries have committed to phasing out incandescent lamps by 2016, under the en.lighten initiative - a partnership between UNEP and the Global Environemnt Facility (GEF).

According to a UNEP assessment released last June, a total of five per cent of global electricity consumption could be saved every year through a transition to efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide savings of over US$ 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 US$ 210 billion. Additionally, the 490 megatonnes (Mt) 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.

"Increasing numbers of countries are now achieving major financial savings, generating green jobs, and seeing reductions in mercury, sulphur dioxide, and other pollutants from power stations, through a switch to efficient lighting. Ambitious policies and partnerships must be seized if the social, economic, and environmental benefits of a transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient green economy are to be realized."

The newly-launched Collaborating Centre supports developing and emerging countries by assisting in the establishment or strengthening of national and/or regional lighting laboratories by:

  • Providing technical advice for the development and implementation of effective product quality surveillance mechanisms for national, regional and global institutions;
  • Developing quality checking control tests commissioned by governments and the private sector;
  • Providing professional guidance to countries for establishing new, or enhancing exisiting, lighting laboratories and quality management systems;
  • Offering technical training for the testing of lighting products;
  • Improving manufacturing techniques for energy efficient products; and
  • Providing expert guidance for policy and regulatory issues associated with the production of efficient lighting.

Projects undertaken by the Centre include a lamp quality testing project, conducted in participation with the en.lighten initative. It aims to strengthen national quality control and testing systems and to encourage the development of measurement, verification and enforcement programs in fourteen countries.

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.

Notes to Editors:

  • More information on the en.lighten initiative is available at: www.enlighten-initiative.org
  • Country lighting assessments are available at: http://www.enlighten-initiative.org/portal/Home/tabid/56373/Default.aspx
  • National Data on the Benefits of a Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting can be viewed at: http://www.unep.org/PDF/PressReleases/Table_Energy_Efficient_Lighting_Tr...
  • 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:

  • Electricity for lighting accounts for almost 20 percent of electricity consumption and 6 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide.
  • The global demand for artificial light will be 60 percent higher by 2030 if no switch to efficient lighting occurs.
  • Incandescent lamps have already been phased-out, or are scheduled to be phased-out in most OECD countries, Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Mexico, Vietnam and other developing countries.
  • Some countries, such as Nigeria and China, are leapfrogging directly to light emitting diodes (LEDs) from incandescent lamps. LEDs do not contain mercury and have other advantages such as long life and low heat generation.

About the National Lighting Test Centre

Founded in 1975, the National Lighting Test Centre is one of the most widely respected lighting test institutions in China. It is an authorized national testing institution recognized by the Chinese State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision. The lab has been contracted as a certified facility for the European Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) testing.

With its innovative equipment and team of highly qualified technicians, NLTC's primary service is third-party testing and certification testing for a wide range of lighting products such as light sources, luminaries, and ballasts.

In addition to testing procedures, the NLTC is involved in the development of testing equipment and national and international standards. It organizes round robin tests with international labs, assists other countries to establish their own national labs.