France to turn out the lights at night
Sunday 1 July will mark the start of an initiative in France to turn out the lights at night. From 1 to 6 o’clock in the morning, everything from giant neon advertisements to blinking storefront lights must be shut off in an attempt to save energy.
Illuminated Christmas trees, which can often be found in town centres in France, will also be shut off during the evening hours.
Certain light installations will be exempt from the new measures, such as can be found at once-a-year festivities, like the Cannes Film Festival and Lyon’s Festival of Lights.
The decree will first target newer installations, before progressively turning out the estimated 3.5 million neon lights that cover storefronts across France, by 2018.
Lory Waks, in charge of the project at the Ministry for Sustainable Development, hopes to eventually move to turning off the lights in office buildings, storefront windows and businesses that leave their lights on all night.
The ministry says the measure will save around 1 terawatt-hour per year, which equals out to be the electricity consumption of around 370,000 households. This could reduce CO2 emissions by 120,000 tons.
Humans won’t be the only ones benefiting from the changes. Scientific studies show that animals, especially insects, become disoriented by non-stop light.
Amateur astronomers can also breathe easier, knowing that the ever-present glow hovering over French cities at night will now be dim enough to see the stars in the sky.