Financial and environmental saving in street lighting
During the last ten years a new generation of energy saving lighting technologies
has been developed which addresses some of the fundamental issues we face
today - such as energy consumption, global climate change and the need to
maintain economic competitiveness.
Figures show that if all the energy inefficient lighting in the European Union
were upgraded to the latest technology solutions - for domestic, public and
private sectors - the annual running cost savings would be over four billion euros,
equivalent to CO2 savings of 8 million tons per year. This is more than 50 million
barrels of oil per year or the equivalent CO2 consumption of one billion trees.
Municipalities, financial institutions and political leaders have an important role to
play in actively encouraging, promoting and helping to accelerate the adoption of
these energy saving and CO2 reducing technologies. Global energy demands are
increasing, energy prices are rising and Kyoto targets for reducing CO2 emissions
are becoming more challenging. Efficient lighting technologies can make a major
contribution in reducing both energy consumption and CO2 emissions. These
energy-efficient lighting solutions and products are available on the market today
and can be applied now.
There are many places where
this is already happening.
Gent in Belgium won the
2004 International City
people light award for its new
lighting design using energy
efficient lighting technologies.
However the current rate
of market change is slow.
Half to two-thirds of all
Europe’s lighting is still older
energy inefficient technology
which, at present rates, will
take another generation to
replace - despite the fact that
quick financial paybacks are
Approximately one-third of
Europe’s roads and motorways
are still lit using cheap, but
inefficient, 1960s technology:
the so-called mercury vapour
lamps. These 35 million
outdated lamps consume
twice the electricity necessary
and create a cost burden for
both local authorities and
taxpayers while producing
high CO2 emissions. Current
changeover rates are 3% per
year, meaning it will take more
than thirty years for the full
financial and environmental
benefits to be realised. This is
simply too slow.
The new generation of lighting technology offers fast paybacks on initial
investment and delivers better quality lighting. Figures show that if mercury
vapour lamp and gear systems were replaced by the latest technology, city
councils would save up to 700 million euros in running costs per year and Europe
would substantially reduce its CO2 emissions by 3.5 million tons - taking a big
step forward towards reaching its Kyoto targets.
2005 saw the launch of a new breakthrough in street
lighting called CosmoPolis. This system uses less than half
the energy of mercury vapour lamps, provides a far higher
quality of light and again has industry leading low levels of
The green facts
Europe could reduce 3.5 million tons of CO2 emissions per
year by switching HPL - High Pressure Mercury Lamps - to
the latest road lighting technology such as ceramic metal
This is equivalent to the CO2 consumption of 175 million trees.
This represents the annual consumption of 12-14 million barrels of oil.
This is the equivalent annual output of two power stations (1000MWE).
The latest lamp and gear technology is up to 65% smaller than its predecessors
and allows for tighter beam control and less light pollution. Only half the material
is needed to create new fittings or luminaries and therefore less transport is
needed to move stock, with resultant CO2 savings.
The latest street lighting technology also continues the downward trend in
contents of hazardous substances, with industry leading low levels of mercury.
The business facts
If the street light fitting or luminaire needs replacing, then a switch from mercury
vapour lamps to more energy efficient alternatives will save running costs, allow
for greater spacing due to better optics, allow for smaller lamp posts and reduce
CO2 emissions. These savings will start immediately after installation.
If the street light fitting or luminaire does not need replacing, then a lamp and
gear tray replacement, switching from mercury vapour lamps to more energy
efficient high pressure sodium or metal halide equivalents, can have an immediate
payback within the first year.
Europe-wide running annual cost savings of between 600 and 700 million euros
can be realised.
An upgrade would support the Lisbon agenda with its European competitiveness
New energy efficient lighting technologies provide a unique win/win/win
opportunity: the environment gains because of fewer CO2 emissions, the taxpayer
and user gain because of lower energy costs and economic competitiveness is
enhanced with consequences for jobs, investment and exports.