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Mexico: One million families go green by replacing antiquated light bulbs

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  • One million Mexican families adopt "clean" lighting by replacing antiquated light bulbs
  • With new light bulbs, families will save on their electric bill and respect the environment at the same time
  • The Sustainable Lighting Program aims to reach more than 11 million families in 2012

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MEXICO CITY, September 27, 2011 – Nearly one million Mexican families have energized Mexico’s green policies and their household budgets, by taking actions as simple as changing a light bulb. Simple as turning the light on and off.

They are benefitting from the Sustainable Lighting Program, which replaces incandescent light bulbs with more efficient, environmentally-friendly ones – compact fluorescent lamps, better known as energy-saving light bulbs.

The idea is catching on around the country. From the beginning of the year to date, some 4 million light bulbs have been replaced. The project aims to replace 47 million by the end of next year. Since every household has the right to replace four incandescent bulbs, the program seeks to cover more than 11 million families in 2012.

Energy-saving bulbs last 10 times longer than traditional ones and are at least 70 percent more efficient, helping families save money. Additionally, the program helps the government to save on energy production, which benefits the environment, and to spend less on subsidies, which provides fiscal space to support other important programs.

Currently, incandescent bulbs produce approximately 72 percent of light in Mexican homes. Although those bulbs are much cheaper because their production costs are much lower, they are less efficient given that nearly 95 percent of the energy they consume is converted into heat whereas only the remaining 5 percent is used for illumination. Moreover, the increased energy consumption contributes to damaging Greenhouse Gas Emissions during the generation of electric power.

The Sustainable Lighting Program is implemented by the Electric Power Savings Trust Fund (FIDE) and funded by the World Bank. Its goal is to replace 47.2 million bulbs by the end of 2012.

México: nuevas luces propician ahorro y respetan medio ambienteGiven that in 2009 and 2010, two pilot projects were carried out in which approximately 1.4 million bulbs were replaced, the Sustainable Lighting Program has 45.8 million replacements pending. This year, 50 percent of the program target will be met. To date, the Sustainable Lighting Program has replaced approximately 2.4 million bulbs, benefiting more than 600,000 families, surpassing by 10.7 percent the established target for this year, according to the Energy Ministry.

To this end, more than 1,100 exchange centers have been set up in Coppel, Soriana and Chedraui stores in 56 metropolitan areas around the country and in all cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The process is easy: simply bring in four incandescent bulbs, a paid electric bill and official identification or proof of residence.

“Mexico has demonstrated to the international community how a country with an emerging economy can adopt a responsible, proactive attitude toward the challenges of climate change,” said Gloria Grandolini, World Bank director for Colombia and Mexico. “This is why we support the government in developing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve sustainable, inclusive development,” she said.

“Green” light for the environment

The program has a clear “green” component since it respects the environment by saving electric power and by avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases produced when fossil fuels are used to generate electric power. The initiative seeks to reduce by up to 2.78 million tons the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere every year, equivalent to 36 percent of annual emissions of vehicles circulating in Mexico City or the consumption of 7.44 million barrels of oil (Mexican crude processed in six days).

A government priority is for Mexico to return to the path of robust economic growth to create opportunities and reduce poverty. Addressing climate change is part of this agenda given that it is essential both to fight poverty and to promote national development. Energy efficiency, that is, savings of energy resources, is one way to achieve this objective.

The World Bank supports these efforts with its global experience in the design and implementation of energy efficiency programs and the analysis of the impact of energy efficiency measures in mitigating the effects of climate change throughout the world.
Without a doubt, energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective measures for improving energy security while protecting the environment. Nevertheless, despite the numerous benefits it provides to all sectors of society, it is frequently a difficult measure to implement, according to World Bank Project Manager Roberto Aiello.

“Through Sustainable Lighting, Mexico is giving a great example to the world that it is possible to implement a large-scale energy efficiency program in the residential sector,” he said.

What are you waiting for?

The program distributes energy-saving bulbs through national market distribution channels and is implemented in coordination with government officials. According to Reina Velázquez, executive director of the Energy Secretariat’s Investment Promotion Office, “these factors strengthen the transition to efficient, quality lighting technologies that generate savings for all Mexicans, without sacrificing our families’ comfort.”

Do you want to fight the effects of climate change in Mexico and help your family’s economy? Then go to the exchange center nearest you!

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