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The French are cracking down on wasted energy.  A new national law in France, set to take effect on July 1, will require businesses to turn out their lights overnight.  Offices and shops will have to shut off their interior lighting no later than one hour after the last worker leaves the premises.  Shops will have to douse the lights in their window displays by 1:00 a.m., and they can’t be relit until 7:00 a.m. or an hour before opening.

French government officials — who can probably hear you snickering right now — point out that in a year this will save the energy equivalent of 750,000 households, and keep about 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide out of the air.  (Also, there will be exceptions for special events and special areas, so don’t think that the gendarmes are going to be pinning tickets to the Eiffel Tower or on someone’s Christmas lights.)

Midnight Oil Pin Art

We’re not likely to see this kind of law in the United States anytime soon.  Or, like, ever.  But JouleBug has it covered.  The “Midnight Oil” pin — part of the “Quittin’ Time” badge — reminds you to turn out the lights when you leave work.  Is your desk staying up late to catch up on some reading?  Is your telephone afraid of the dark?  No, no they are not.  So hit the switch on your way out the door.  It saves energy, money, and emissions, and you can do it now — because it’s the right thing to do, not because the law told you to.

No bonus points are awarded for cheap jokes about the French, so save ’em.  There will be other opportunities.