New UN Collaborating Centre for Energy Efficient Lighting Opens in Beijing

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;
•    Providing expert guidance for policy and regulatory issues associated with the production of efficient lighting.

Projects udnertaken 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.

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