Smart street lighting is the easiest and quickest way to achieve environmental stability for our planet.
The climate is changing because of humans, and only humans can help stop it. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (specifically Goal 13) clearly emphasis how important it is to reduce the negative human actions on the world. Many governments across the globe have already pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. And public lighting can definitely play a crucial role in achieving these goals.
With smart public lighting, Cities can achieve significant benefits. More importantly, Cities can:
- Save energy and prevent related CO2 emissions,
- Minimize light pollution, and
- Protect biodiversity
1.) Save Energy and Reduce CO2 Emissions
Public lighting typically accounts for over 40% of a city’s electricity budget. Unfortunately, it is also one of the largest sources of energy wastage. While aimed at improving public safety, they often burn all night at 100 percent, even when no one is around.
Smart street lighting offers a perfect solution to combine safety with savings. Scheduled dimming of public lighting makes a significant difference.
Case-in-point: City of Dortmund (Germany): Dortmund reported energy savings of 1.069 MWh and prevention of 694 tonne CO2 over the past six months, thanks to Tvilight’s intelligent street lighting solution. These energy savings and related CO2 prevention were realised just by upgrading 20.000 street lights. When Dortmund converts upgrades all its street lights with smart outdoor lamp controller, the savings and carbon footprint reduction will be incredible.
“With Smart Street Lighting, Dortmund saved over 1.069 MWh energy and prevented 694 tonne CO2 over the past six months”
Further reduction in energy waste and CO2 could also be achieved by making use of motion sensor based or adaptive lighting based to traffic and weather conditions. Street light motion sensors that adjust lighting based on human presence can deliver energy savings up to 80%. Motion sensor street lights also boost the safety and comfort of road users, while maintaining the aesthetics of the local environment.
2.) Minimise Light Pollution
The International Dark-Sky Association describes light pollution as an inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light, which can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and climate. They describe glare, light trespass, skyglow, and clutter as components of light pollution. The effects of light pollution include disruption of ecosystems, harm to human health and well-being, and deprivation of the sight of the stars for the people.
A report, The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, published in Science Advances journal, states that more than 80% of the world and more than 99% of the United States and European cities have light-polluted skies. It is a global problem! Minimising light pollution, therefore, is vital.
“More than 80% of the world and 99% of the US and European cities suffer from light pollution. Minimising light pollution is imperative.”
Turning down the light levels during the off-peak hours, when there is no one around, can significantly reduce light pollution. Smart street lighting offer cities an easy way to regulate light levels. Cities can remotely program network-connected intelligent public lighting based on needs from a centralized location.
3.) Protect Biodiversity
Artificial outdoor lighting at night can seriously impact biodiversity. It can disrupt fauna’s migration, population size, sleep-wake cycle, and more. To be more specific, artificial light can draw and disorient night-flying moths, hatchling turtles, frogs and amphibians. It affects the flight patterns of migrating birds. Due to excessive light, animals can be blinded, resulting in an increase in road kills. It also influences the predator/ prey relationship, where predators have a visual advantage and prey do not have dark places to hide.
Smart City lighting therefore can make a significant positive difference. Reduced light levels can be beneficial for biodiversity. Motion sensor street lighting, where street lights get brighter only in the presence of a human, delivers a further contribution. Such intelligent lighting solutions are readily available in the market – to protect biodiversity while maintaining citizen safety and comfort.