Local councils convert 200,000 street lights to smart lighting technology

More than 200,000 street lights across the country have been fitted with LED technology, forming part of a renewed transition toward greater sustainability and energy efficiency.

Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth have taken conclusive steps towards the widespread installation of energy efficient street lighting, with Melbourne to replace 14,000 lights over the next five years to enhance maintenance and energy ratings.

“The great thing with smart lighting is that it’s all going to be low energy. Not only does it communicate with itself very well, however it also turns on and off with the flick of a switch,” said Ian Dryden, Team Leader of Industrial Design at City of Melbourne who spoke at the Australian Smart Lighting Summit held last week at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

More than 50 local councils gathered at the summit to share ideas and discuss the implementation of smart lighting solutions, with presentations from local councils and lighting designers on street and urban lighting projects currently taking place across the country.

Victorian councils have remained at the forefront of the installation of smart lighting technology. The Lighting the Regions project aims to replace more than 23,000 street lights in collaboration with 16 local councils over north, west and central Victoria. The measure is expected to save local councils $57 million over the next 20 years.

Other recent initiatives include the Great South Coast Street Smart Lighting program which will convert up to 7500 street lights with energy efficient LED lighting across south-west Victoria. These programs have been partially funded under the Federal Government’s Community Energy Efficiency grogram.

George Angelis, Head of City Infrastructure and Traffic Operations at City of Sydney, helped facilitate in the roll out of LED street lighting in Sydney where more than 5,753 street and park lights were installed in 2012. The city has accumulatively reduced its energy use by more than 46% since then, contributing toward the 70% reduction in carbon emissions the city hopes to attain by 2030.

“It’s important for people to share knowledge and to show that although there is fear, that it’s doable. And that’s the important thing. It’s doable and it’s not rocket science,” said Angelis.

“There’s an evolution taking place. You could wait forever for microchip technology, however you’ll be waiting and you’ll be on the sideline.”

Smart lighting technology also gives us the ability to track our lighting networks in real-time, giving us instant feedback to our lighting networks. With this information, operators can know the exact time and location of an outage in the system; a capacity most cities and councils do not have with existing fittings.

“Everything we do today is done manually… with smart technology, what you’ll actually be able to do is monitor those sorts of lights so not only will the distributor know that the light is not working, we will know as well,” said Dryden.

More than 770,000 people arrive in Melbourne CBD each day, 50,000 of which come at night. Aside from providing illumination, lighting also plays an important part in conveying safety and assurance. Areas once previously deemed dangerous can be transformed into a place of community with the use of bright, white light.

However, there is still a long way to go for Australia when it comes to the adoption and implementation of smart lighting technology. “If you look at us in comparison to Los Angeles or New York or California or any of those states, they are miles ahead of Australia in terms of the take up of smart technology,” said Dryden.

Yearly LED lighting sales are expected to increase to $300 billion by 2020, providing a future market for Australian industry within the realm of the manufacturing, development and consultation of smart lighting technology.

The 3rd Annual Australian Smart Lighting Summit 2015 was held on the 8th & 9th of September 2015 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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