What is the problem? The challenge of climate change

Mitigating climate change is one of the grand challenges we are facing. The EU has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and to improve its energy efficiency by 20 %.

Why is EU Action required? Saving energy through the use of more efficient lighting and offering higher quality lighting in public spaces

As 19% of the electricity consumption worldwide is used for lighting, more efficient lighting can give huge energy savings. By combining advanced SSL (Solid State Lighting) with intelligent light management systems, up to 70% of the energy used today in lighting can be saved. Moreover, SSL has extremely long lifetime and much lower maintenance costs, promisinglong term cost savings for consumers and public authorities.

As far as public autorities are concerned, SSL is a new lighting technology that is set to replace current lighting systems in all kinds of public spaces and applications, from traffic lights and street lights to public offices and buildings.

Europe's public sector can play a very important role in the promotion and wide take-up of SSL. Life Cycle Costing – i.e., specifying total lifetime costs rather than initial purchase costs for all public procurement of lighting installations will allow SSL to compete fairly against its alternatives, and allow public authorities and the general public to enjoy its benefits in terms of better quality light, less environmental damage, and lower long-term costs.

What has the Commission done so far?

The Commission has conducted an EU-wide survey on public authorities' current tendering procedures on public works of lighting installation.

By the end of 2011 the goal had been addressed through the related on-going Commission initiatives (e.g. Green Public Procurement, in combination with the modernisation of the European public procurement legislation foreseen by DG MARKT, and by the 2011 Energy Efficient Plan of DG ENER).

The Public Procurement Directive has been published which included the Green public procurement criteria for lighting equipment.