Almost 500 new energy efficient LEDs (light emitting diodes) have been installed along Isakov Avenue and Tairov Street, joining Yerevan city center to Zvartnots international airport, within the framework of UNDP-GEF “Green Urban Lighting” pilot project. The initiative, which was carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Nature Protection and Yerevan Municipality, allows energy savings of 63 percent, reduction of costs by USD 45,000, and carbon emissions by 220 tons in annual terms.
Today, Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, Aramayis Grigoryan, Minister of Nature Protection, and Kamo Areyan, First Deputy Mayor of Yerevan, officially opened the project. Representatives of government agencies responsible for urban and municipal development, energy security sector, as well as international organizations, diplomatic corps, and the media attended the event.
“We believe that achieving greater energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy is crucial for Armenia and for its future energy security. A low carbon route to development is an ambitious but achievable goal for Armenia, which is becoming increasingly affordable with the rapid advance of innovative technologies. UNDP considers this project as strategically important for the country, since Armenia has an immense potential for development of energy efficient technologies. This successful joint project, even on a small scale, sets new standards for energy efficient lighting, and we will work with the government and donor community to replicate this success,” said Bradley Busetto in his opening remarks.
UNDP soon will complete a similar project in the city of Alaverdi, as well as provide Yerevan Zoo with a new energy efficient lighting system.
Armenian authorities have committed to make every effort to promote energy efficiency and energy saving, as well as creating an enabling investment climate in Armenia. “The environmental event launched today is a result of long-term successful cooperation with local self-government bodies, enabling to assess energy efficiency as an environmental issue. Yerevan city and, in particular, its municipal lighting system, accounts for a large share of energy consumption in the country, that is why Yerevan municipality was invited as a partner of the ‘Green Urban Lighting’ project, implemented under the coordination of the Ministry of Nature Protection. To demonstrate advantages of the energy efficient street lighting system, Isakov Avenue and Tairov Street that connect Yerevan city center to Zvartnots international airport were selected as a pilot area,” Minister of Nature Protection Aramayis Grigoryan said in his opening remarks. The Minister also mentioned that the pilot project opening is timed to the “Earth Hour” annual environmental event, as they would like to highlight the importance of environmental impact of energy efficiency related projects. “The ‘Earth Hour’ symbolizes our responsibility towards the future generations,” said the Minister. He assured that the Ministry of Nature Protection attaches high importance to the issue of climate change and is consistently contributing, as well as coordinating all the processes ongoing in the country that add to the global efforts to mitigate climate change.
Lighting is the second largest source of municipal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Armenia (after heating), accounting for about one third of municipalities’ GHG emissions and up to 50 percent of their electricity bill. Municipal lighting in Yerevan accounts 90 percent of all urban lighting energy use nationwide. Kamo Areyan, First deputy Mayor of Yerevan, expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Nature Protection and UNDP in Armenia for successful cooperation and involvement of the capital city in the project. “Yerevan is the largest energy consumer in the urban lighting sector in the country and admits its major responsibility for efficient resource management and emission reduction. With the aim to facilitate the “green economy development” and improve the wellbeing of the city residents, Yerevan has joined the EU ‘Covenant of Mayors’ initiative. Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the 20 percent CO2 reduction objective by 2020,” said the First Deputy Mayor. Mr. Areyan stressed that everybody should be conscious of the importance of human impact on environment and willing to partake in addressing environmental issues.
The ceremony coincides with “Earth Hour,” an internationally recognized “lights-off event,” held annually since 2007 on the last Saturday in March (at 8.30pm). Cities, organizations, households taking part in the event turn off their non-essential lights for one hour thus contributing to highlighting the importance of global climate change issue and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations UNDP in Armenia was established in March 1993, and supports the government in meeting its development priorities and the Millennium Development Goals.