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The lighting of offices and businesses and the light pollution and energy consumption it generates is a growing concern in France, especially thanks to the reflections on energy sobriety.
For a long time, the regulations concerning the lighting of businesses and places of professional practice were meager or non-existent. Office windows lit up all night were not uncommon. The few convictions were limited to complaints of neighborhood nuisance. Nevertheless, following the Grenelle de l'environnement and the ecological awareness of the French, the legislator decided to take into account the damage caused by light pollution in a law of 2010.
This law had no effect on light pollution. But in 2018, two decrees came to strengthen the regulations and clarify the rules around nighttime lighting.
Want to see a one-page pdf summary of this regulation in the form of an action sheet? Download it right here!
What are these regulations?
According to the regulations in force, merchants who have a window to present their products have more freedom for the lighting of their business than other professionals. They have the possibility to keep the lighting of their window until 1 am, and to extend this lighting for 1 additional hour after the end of their activity. In the morning, they can turn on their window from 7 am or 1 hour before the beginning of their activity.
However, professionals working in offices, or any other premises for professional use, can only keep the lights on until 1 hour after the end of their activity and can only turn them back on the next day when they start their professional activity.
The prefect may decide to adapt these rules in a more restrictive manner to protect the fauna and flora sensitive to this light. The mayor may decide to suspend these rules on the eve of public holidays and during the Christmas lighting period.
There are also exceptions for certain storefronts such as cinemas and theaters, and for tourist or high-traffic areas or areas of permanent cultural activity.
These prefectural exemptions can be authorized for an extremely short period of time or for a permanent period. To know the delimitation of these zones and to know if you are concerned, it is thus necessary to inquire with the public authorities.
What are the penalties?
Local authorities have the power to enforce these regulations and may conduct regular inspections to ensure that stores are complying with the lighting hours defined by the prefectural order. If a store does not comply with this regulation, it may be subject to administrative sanctions such as fines or temporary closures.
The mayor's office of your municipality can give you a formal notice for a maximum of 5 days. After this period, if you have not complied with the requests, the mayor will impose a fine of up to €1,500. A criminal fine of 7 500 € can also be pronounced.
Why reduce commercial lighting at night?
Light pollution, caused by excessive artificial lighting, can disrupt the sleep and breeding cycles of wild animals, as well as the migration of birds. It can also cause health problems such as sleep and mood disorders in humans. By turning off store windows at night, stores can reduce their impact on the environment while conserving the nation's energy resources.
In addition to reducing light pollution, turning off storefronts at night also reduces energy consumption and contributes to lowering energy costs.
How can you ensure that all the sites in your network comply with the regulations?
On Lakaa, it is possible to create an action sheet "Turn off my shop window at night" to spread the information and obligations related to this regulation to all its sites. Once this form is created, it is distributed to each site which can then declare to respect this regulation, and give details on the concrete implementation of this action.
Want to see what this action sheet might look like? Find out right here.