The global energy crisis is pushing businesses and local authorities to increasingly search for ways to decrease their power bills. One city in Germany is demonstrating what is possible - saving over a million kilowatt hours per year in the last five years through the introduction of a system which allows street lighting dimming by just an hour per day in the summer months. This model can be replicated by towns, cities, and local authorities around the world to reduce costs and their carbon footprint, paving the way for a cheaper and more sustainable future.
German efficiency and savings…
In the City of Weimar in eastern Germany, 83% of lighting columns have already made the switch from traditional to LED and, since 2016, they have nearly halved their energy output on power used by street lighting. In addition to using much less power than inefficient legacy lamp systems, the new LED streetlights are also easily controlled through the use of a Central Management System (CMS). This ensures that the needs of urban areas can be finely tuned, updated for the time of year, and even dynamically dimmed. Typically, previous generation lights were set on a timer and were either on or off. Furthermore, lighting patterns could only be updated or changed by visiting each individual lamp pole. Meanwhile, new centralised dynamic control can programme lights without human intervention at the pole, and can help reduce both carbon emissions and light pollution.
With energy prices already rising by 32%, leading to a potential extra spend of more than a 150,000 euros per year, the city announced they would reduce hours that lighting was switched on during the summer months by thirty minutes in the morning and the same in the evening, starting on June 1st, 2022.
This will result in a further potential saving of between 70,000 and 100,000 kWh per year equating to 30,000 to 40,000 euros, money which can be redistributed into other areas by the city council. Other much larger cities in the western part of the country such as Mainz and Darmstadt have also followed suit and reported similar results, with the latter going a step further by using motion sensor technology to only light pathways when they are in use.
Smart lighting and the future …
It isn’t just the financial incentives that will motivate councils and other bodies to make the switch to smart lighting - it’s merely the first step in creating a smart city ecosystem with the additional bonuses of using lighting columns for a range of other purposes such as the monitoring of motor and foot traffic or local pollution levels.
Equipment such as our Urban Control Urban Node 324 Cellular represent a leap forward in being able to intelligently alter localised lighting in response to a particular environment, whether it be a busy train station during commuting hours, a quiet park in the evening or even a roadside accident that requires additional lighting for emergency services. It also provides an answer to a burning question – why lose hours of efficiency on having to service multiple areas when a smarter solution allows for total control with a few mouse clicks?
In the UK many local authorities have already deployed our intelligent street lighting solutions, including the City of London, the London Boroughs of Brent, Barking and Dagenham, Westminster City Council and Surrey County Council. The result is a smarter lighting network which not only decreases energy bills, above and beyond those from simply deploying LED, but also increases efficiency in maintenance operations and maximises the utility and usefulness of the network itself.
As the Weimar example shows, the benefits of smart lighting are clear for cities of all sizes, and the additional reduction of emissions and costs that can be made by authorities if they add a CMS when they upgrade their traditional lighting columns to LED, giving them total command of public lighting systems throughout their area. To learn more about the options for dynamic lighting solutions offered by Urban Control and what we can do for your town, city or local authority, contact email@example.com