Light Pollution In France: Office, Shops Must Turn Off Light At Night

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France’s got a big problem at the moment, and it’s light pollution. French shops and office buildings will therefore have to turn off their lights at night to save energy and reduce light pollution, the French environment ministry said on Wednesday.

It’s a law now – from July 1, all non-residential buildings will have to switch off interior lights one hour after the last worker leaves the premises. All exterior and shop window lighting will have to be turned off by 1 am.

Local authorities will be able to allow exceptions for Christmas lighting and other local events.

The new law will save about two terawatt/hours of electricity a year – the equivalent of the annual consumption of 750,000 households, the ministry said.

According to French Environment Minister Delphine Batho, the new law would make France a pioneer in Europe in preventing light pollution, which disrupts ecosystems and people’s sleep patterns.

Light pollution can also cause increased headache incidence, worker fatigue, medically defined stress, decrease in sexual function and increase in anxiety. For those who need to be awake at night, light at night also has an acute effect on alertness and mood.

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