United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Azerbaijan Installs LED Street Lights in its Capital`s Historical District


Icherisheher keeps the lights on and paves way for major emissions cut

Baku, Azerbaijan -- With UNEP's support, a demonstration project for replacing inefficient public street lights provides example of how historic reserve of Icherisheher could go on to take major step towards its climate target

Some of the 600 LED lights that are replacing public street lights in Icherisheher were presented to the public in Azerbaijan's capital city today, launching a demonstration project coordinated by UNEP showing how the reserve could take a big step towards achieving its 2020 climate goal.

The move to replace inefficient street lights with LED ones comes under one of the ambitious climate action plans that UNEP is coordinating as part of the European Commission's 'Covenant of Mayors (COMO) Going East' programme. Icherisheher has been a signatory to COMO since 2012.

Outdoor lighting accounts for 70% of total emissions in Icherisheher, the historic core of Azerbaijan's capital city Baku. If not only 600 but all of the reserve's approximately 2000 luminescent, metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs were to be replaced with LED ones, 303,900 kWh of electricity would be saved each year - equivalent to 271 tons of CO - compared to a baseline year of 2011.

Replacing all inefficient light bulbs would represent 48% of the reserve's CO reduction target to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 2011.

At an inaugural event for the COMO demonstration project in Azerbaijan's capital today, LED light bulbs replacing public street lights were presented to the media, local residents, students, Baku and Icherishsher Administration municipality representatives and national NGOs.

Under the COMO programme, UNEP supported the reserve by contributing to technical support on street lighting -far more complex than that within buildings - through a workshop organised with the Enlighten initiative, a partnership between the public and private sector for shifting to efficient lighting. UNEP also purchased the LED bulbs, which Azerbaijan's Communal Housing Department has been replacing inefficient street lights with as of this week.

The light bulb replacement project comes after Icherisheher developed a Sustainable Energy Action Plan for calculating and reducing emissions in a range of sectors that was approved by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.

Outdoor lights operate for 13 hours a day in Icherisheher. LED bulbs are proven to have up to 30,000 hrs of lifespan and are the most efficient technology available in the market. All-LED based outdoor lighting will consume only 170,000 KW hours of electricity compared to 473,900 Kwh consumed in 2011.

The light bulb presentation is just one of the demonstration activities taking place to raise awareness among the general public and Icherisheher residents on climate change, energy-saving measures and the Covenant of Mayors initiative.


The European Commission's Covenant of Mayors sees EU towns, cities and regions volunteer to reduce their CO emissions beyond the bloc's climate targets:

  • a 20% reduction in CO emissions compared to 1990
  • a 20% increase in the share of renewables in the energy mix
  • a 20% cut in energy consumption

The COMO Going East programme helps three partner cities in countries that are not members of the EU to also go beyond the targets.

In this regard, Icherisheher in Baku, the Ukrainian town of Vinnytsia and Beltsy in the Republic of Moldova took part in the COMO 'Sustainable energy planning for cities: Eastern Europe and South Caucasus' project, which was coordinated by UNEP for Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian countries and took place between January 2012 and April 2015.

Other than the light bulb switch, under its Sustainable Energy Action Plan Icherisheher also aims to promote itself as a car-free town, while Vinnytsia plans to reduce its energy consumption by over 20% a year for example. Such activities are also helping secure funding for future work on climate change.

UNEP's technical support for the light bulb switch project in Icherisheher came in the form of a workshop held on Energy Efficiency and Street Lighting together with the reserve, the Covenant of Mayors (COMO) and Enlighten initiative in Baku on 2 and 3 September 2014. The workshop raised awareness among local and national authorities on energy saving potentials and available solutions for street lighting and policy options.

Full details on the full sustainable energy planning project can be read in this e-book. More detail on the COMO East project can be read here, and further information on the Enlighten initiative can be found here.

Icherisheher is a state Historical-Architectural Reserve located in Azerbaijan's capital Baku and is the country's first place to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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