A new light on saving energy

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Courtesy of Elektor International Media (EIM)

Some 80,000 dynamic street lights have been installed in Europe over the past few years. Quite a modest number if you consider that there are some 91 million light points in Europe. The city of Oslo alone has 54,000 street lights. A dynamic street light is a system that tells you exactly how much energy each single luminary is using and when its lamp needs to be replaced. It adapts the light intensity automatically to external factors such as the amount of daylight, weather conditions, road constructions or traffic density. Such adaptation (dimming) does not only prolong the lifetime of the lamp, it also saves energy. As each luminary is connected to a central database, it is possible to organize maintenance much more efficiently. The system shows when a lamp needs to be replaced. Replacing lamps in time saves a considerable amount of energy, since their efficiency decreases towards the end of their economic life. In addition timely replacement extends the lifetime of other street light components.

It has taken some time for dynamic lighting to gain ground. In January 2006, 13 organisations from 12 European countries joined forces and started the E-street project to promote dynamic lighting. This three-year project was partly funded by the EU Intelligent Energy Europe programme, providing half of the €1.1 million budget. Among the partners were the companies Hafslund Nett, Philips, Echelon and Selc, which each supply different components of dynamic lighting systems, as well as the cities of Oslo and Gothenburg, investment bank Schleswig-Holstein and the Black Sea Regional Energy Centre. Between January 2006 and July 2008, the project partners installed 20,000 dynamic lighting systems.

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