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Energy saving starts with a light bulb
Updated: 2009-08-03 14:37

In Zhang's community, 2,000 energy saving bulbs were sold in one day.

"We didn't need to do any advertising. The bulbs sold out very quickly. In fact, we can hardly meet the demand," said Hou Jun, of the community resident committee which helped arrange distribution.

More than 3 million energy-saving bulbs were also installed by institutions or public facilities, including government agencies, hotels, shopping malls, schools, hospitals, and subways.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform is urging people to turn in incandescent light bulbs to waste treatment centers for safe disposal as materials inside such as lead and mercury can harm the environment.

In late July, the NDRC and the United Nations Development Program agreed on a project to phase out energy consuming incandescent lamps and promote low energy-consuming bulbs in China.

The four-year plan will get $14 million from the Global Environment Facility.

China's production of incandescent lamps fell 23 percent year on year to 3.4 billion in 2008, while the output of compact fluorescent tubes rose by 14 percent to 4.8 billion.

Feng Jin, a 35-year-old operations manager with Nokia China, was out of town when the sale began.

"I was happy to learn that there will be another two sales in September and October. I plan to replace all the lights in my house and buy some more for backup."

Feng said he was inspired to protect the environment during last year's Beijing Olympic Games, when Beijing restricted the use of most vehicles through an odd-even license plate system.

Related readings:
Energy saving starts with a light bulb China offers $88m in subsidies for energy-saving light bulbs
Energy saving starts with a light bulb Changing shopping habits drive sales of energy-efficient bulbs
Energy saving starts with a light bulb China doubles energy-efficient light bulb subsidy

The initiative took 45 percent of the cars off the roads and helped keep the air clean.

"At first I was so annoyed by the restrictions, but gradually I began to like it," he said. "Walking and taking a bus or spending 2 yuan in the subway... I don't need to worry about parking, and my beer belly shrank. It's really green and healthy."

For Zhang Shuang, an environmental activist and director of Nature Conservancy China branch, the promotion is not just a light bulb, but a lifestyle that will benefit both people and the planet.

"It will mean significant progress for the whole of society when energy saving becomes part of our consciousness," said Zhang.

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