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I recently started an interesting role with the United Nations and for the first time I am out of the commercial world and pushing a purely green agenda which is very rewarding given the imperative to halt global warming. Let me explain more about the programme.

The U4E programme

United for Efficiency (U4E) is a worldwide initiative supporting developing and emerging economies to help their countries adopt energy-efficient equipment in order to ‘accelerate the global transition to high efficiency products’. Under the leadership of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), U4E brings together all key stakeholders active in this area.

UNEP itself is based in Nairobi and U4E is in the Paris office, however with U4E partners based all over the world, this is a truly international and fascinating role. Although it is the first time in my career I am involved with work that is not commercially driven it fits very well with my own moral standpoint. U4E is an ethical, environmental programme which is all about saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. The recent IPCC report confirmed that global warming is already 1C but controversially said we should aim to limit this to no more than 1.5C (not 2C) to avert serious consequences from climate change. The view is we have just 12 years to do this.

The U4E programme isn’t just about lighting, it includes Refrigerators, Air Conditioners, Electric Motors & Transformers with ICT coming soon. It is all about setting Minimum Energy Performance Standards and focused on supporting emerging markets where industrialisation is moving at a pace, the demand for power is growing fast and they need help to set a regulatory framework to limit carbon emissions. Savings in the West could simply be wiped out by increases elsewhere unless significant progress is made in this area. The use of lighting is expected to rise by 50% globally over the next 20 years so we are always going to be running to catch up and clearly, we need to run faster!

Large energy saving possible through lighting

Lighting energy savings

Source: U4E

Lighting is an easier target than most for savings, typically 15% of electricity is used for lighting and there are a large number of replacement lamps (bulbs, tubes etc) that can be changed easily. Simply regulating the replacement lamp with minimum efficiency and performance requirements will achieve significant savings. Very efficient LED light sources give us a huge opportunity and means over 80% savings are possible compared to old style filament lamps and 50% compared to fluorescent tubes.

U4E has an integrated policy approach with 6 key areas, Environmentally Sound Management, Labelling and Communications, Monitoring/Verification and Enforcement, Minimum Energy Performance Standards, Finance and Affordability. The U4E initiative encourages countries to follow an Integrated Policy Approach to transform their markets with efficient, quality lighting products.

My role is involved with co-ordinating the writing of model regulations for lighting together with expert organisations and companies that support the programme as partners. I will then help to communicate the models to policymakers in emerging markets and support them as they introduce their own lighting strategy. There is already a model regulation for General Service Lighting released earlier this year before I took up my role but in fact I was previously involved as an industry partner last year. We are now actively involved in writing the next regulation for linear lighting and hope for this to be completed in the second quarter 2019.