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Chile is Switching Over to Efficient LED lights, Saving around Five Billion Dollars in the Process

Global energy efficiency initiative ‘United for Efficiency’ is supporting Chile to phase out inefficient lamps from its market. According to a UN Environment assessment, the country can save more than 20 percent of its lighting electricity consumption, resulting in annual saving of $480 million in 2030 and cumulative saving of around $ 4.5 billion from 2020 to 2030.

One of the cheapest and fastest ways to reduce global carbon emissions and air pollution is to phase out inefficient lighting technologies[1]. Countries and consumers that reduce use of incandescent lamps in favour of LEDS, one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly developing lighting technologies, can see electricity savings of at least 75 percent[2]

Through the UN Environment-led global initiative United for Efficiency, developing and emerging economies, such as Chile’s, are receiving policy support to phase-out inefficient lighting technologies and replace them with LEDs. 

In 2015, United for Efficiency began collaborating with Chile to jumpstart the country into reducing emissions while also saving billions of dollars through recouped energy costs. According to a United for Efficiency assessment, a transition to efficient LED lighting could save the country 20 percent of its lighting electricity consumption, resulting in annual saving of $480 million in 2030 and cumulative saving of around $ 4.5 billion from 2020 to 2030.

But in addition to significant cost savings, transitioning to LED lighting will help Chile meet its climate and emission reduction goals. Chile’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commits to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2007 levels by 2030[3]. In Chile, the energy sector has historically been the greatest emitting sector with a consistent increase in emissions since 1990. [4] By 2020 electricity consumption is predicted to grow six to seven percent per year, taking into account the expected economic and population growth trends[5]. As the country embarks on its commitment to fulfil its NDC, changes and developments to the energy sector presents opportunities to marry emission reduction with economic growth.

To meet the future electricity demand while reducing reliance on imported energy, the Chilean Government plans 20 percent reduction in projected energy consumption by 2025. One quarter of these reductions could be achieved as part of United for Efficiency country project goal, by 2020.

Far too often, a roadblock to policy is its inability to be implemented at the ground level. To avoid this roadblock and ensure success, a key component of the initiative is a national consumer awareness-raising campaign called “Cambia el Foco,” managed by Fundación Chile, the project executing agency, a Chilean non-profit organization that delivers high-impact solutions in areas such as sustainability and education.

The campaign is built around a lively website that includes LED discount vouchers, energy efficiency tips, and savings calculators. It also includes an “LED truck” which drives around the main communes in Santiago to sell LED bulbs at a price 60 percent lower than retail stores. The truck also provides an educational component which is targeting the average consumer – an important audience as Chilean households continue to increase their energy use.

The project is part of United for Efficiency’s global efforts to support developing and emerging economies where electricity demand is set to more than double by 2030. An increasingly urbanised and growing middle class will require modern conveniences such as lighting and appliances. This will ultimately increase air pollution and boost greenhouse gas emissions unless more energy-efficient, climate-friendly products such as LEDs are used.

Energy efficiency is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways for countries to mitigate climate change. A global transition to high-efficiency products will make it possible for people to enjoy the benefits of their increased incomes while minimising their impact on climate change and air pollution.


Follow United for Efficiency on Twitter: @U4Efficiency 

This blog was written by Romina Reyes, LAC Coordinator for the UN Environment United 4 Efficiency (U4E) and en.lighten initiative, and is part of the Partner Spotlight series to highlight the work of our Members in accelerating NDC implementation for climate and development action. Chile and UN Environment are members of the NDC Partnership.