Smart Lighting Contributes Energy-Savings to Automated City Systems

By Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a smart technology writer who has written for Information Management, Robotiq, Robotics Business Review, and Manufacturing.net. To read more by Ms. Matthews, visit her blog Productivity Bytes, or follow her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews.

Dec 17, 2018 | Infrastructure | 2 comments


Who will you meet?

Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.

Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.


 

The number of smart streetlights that will be installed in cities across the world will reach nearly 73 million by 2026, according to forecasts from Navigant research.

The most recent Smart City Tracker report from the group contains smart city initiatives from 221 cities, of which a quarter include smart lighting. These projects range from pilots to deployments consisting of hundreds of thousands of lights.

One of the primary reasons municipalities deploy smart lighting is their ability to save energy and, therefore, money. According to Gartner Inc., smart LED lighting can reduce energy costs by as much as 90 percent in industrial installations and office buildings. Cities around the world have begun investing in this energy-saving solution that will help regulate data, safety, and the environment.

 

How Does Smart Lighting Save Energy?

Smart lights can incorporate a variety of sensors, including motion sensors. This enables them to turn on only when they detect a pedestrian or vehicle in the vicinity. When there’s no one around, they can turn off or at least dim. This can save substantial amounts of energy by avoiding wasting energy producing light that no one will benefit from.

Other sensors embedded in smart lights can help optimize their performance even further. Using sensors that detect the amount of sunlight present, for example, lights could automatically adjust their brightness. They could also use weather data to increase intensity on mornings with heavy fog.

Smart lights can be connected to the internet, allowing them to both receive data and send recorded data to a central system. This allows the system management to continually optimize the bulbs’ performance based on historical data and predictions of future lighting needs.

Smart lighting systems also use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, as opposed to traditional incandescent or fluorescent lights. LED lighting is the most efficient lighting technology we have today. According to the Department of Energy, residential LEDs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer, even without smart technology.

 

Smart City Lighting Projects

Numerous cities around the world have launched smart lighting initiatives. Some of these cities are in the pilot phase, while others have fully deployed the technology. Here are a few of those initiatives:

 

1. Chicago

In 2017, Chicago launched a smart lighting program that aims to install 270,000 LED bulbs over the course of four years. During the first year of the project, the city installed 81,000 LED lights, and the project is now in phase two.

Chicago estimates that it will save around $10 million each year in utility costs. The project includes a monitoring and control system that immediately alerts the city of any outages and allows workers to optimize the performance of the streetlights.

 

2. Barcelona

In 2012, the city of Barcelona published its Barcelona Lighting Masterplan, which included the use of smart LED lampposts. The lights contain motions sensors and dim to save energy when they don’t detect anyone in the area. The city reported saving 30 percent on its energy costs for lighting. The smart lampposts also provide free Wi-Fi across the city and collect air quality data.

 

3. Adelaide, Australia

The city of Adelaide, the fifth most populous city in Australia, recently completed a smart lighting pilot project. The pilot involved installing more than 60 smart LED lights in the center of the city.

The lights were programmed to switch on 15 minutes before sunset and off 15 minutes after sunrise. The lights also contained motion sensors and dimmed if they didn’t detect anyone nearby.

The city also tested sensors that detected ambient light and dimmed the lights if significant light was available from other sources. Adelaide is still analyzing the results of the pilot. The project is part of the city’s goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city.

 

4. Los Angeles

Los Angeles has converted 140,000 of its streetlights to LEDs and monitors and manages 110,000 of them using a smart lighting management system. This initiative has reduced energy usage for street lighting by around 63 percent and saved the city approximately $9.5 million in annual operational and maintenance costs.

The city has also launched a pilot project that involves monitoring the power supply to the lights, helping grid managers to detect outages more quickly. Additionally, the lightposts are equipped with microphones to monitor environmental noise to help it ensure compliance with noise regulations and respond to noise complaints.

 

Challenges of Smart Lighting

Smart city lighting projects aren’t without their challenges, however. Although research and past projects have established that smart lighting reduces costs over time, it can still be difficult for some municipalities to get the funds required to make the necessary initial investment.

A lack of understanding of smart control technologies can add to the challenge of convincing stakeholders to back smart lighting projects.

Additionally, utilities sometimes own streetlights, which requires local government and utilities to work together. While this can cause delays, utilities often understand that smart lighting can save them money.

Growing numbers of cities, utilities and governments are, however, recognizing the benefits of smart lighting. In addition to energy efficiency, these advantages include reduced carbon emissions, improved public safety, improved data insights and more, leading more and more cities around the world to incorporate smart LED lighting into their automated ecosystems.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

2 Comments

  1. You may be interested to know that Niger State Government, Nigeria is in the process of developing a pilot Smart City in one of its cities call Suleja. This is with technical assistance from South Korean Government. The objective is develop a compact, connected and socially inclusive city: that emphasize low carbon construction; extensive use of renewable energy systems and components. The main components of the Smart City are Advance meter infrastructure; Smart Street Lights; Smart Buildings; and Open Data. The expectation is that the pilot project will provide a basis for retrofitting parts of the other major cities in the State.

    Reply
  2. Great Article!

    It really amazed me. I was not aware that it can save energy as well which is really important for our ecosystem.

    I would like to add my insights on the benefits of smart light which are as follow:

    Save money with smart lights and your smart home app:

    Most people have left the house, gone to work and returned home to discover that they’ve left a lamp on in the bedroom having got ready in a hurry or that a light has been left on in the bathroom perhaps. With smart lighting if you’re even slightly concerned that you’ve left a light on you can go on the app, find the light in question and turn it off with a simple tap on the screen.

    Colour-changing smart light bulbs:

    You’re not longer forced to have either a white or coloured light bulb. Smart light bulbs use LEDs that can be adjusted using the app on your phone or tablet so that it can change colour whenever you want it to.

    If you’re having a themed party you can adjust the colour of each light individually or change the feel of a whole room if you wish, or you can change the bulb colour to give you an authentic cinema or football ground feel if you wish – go where the mood takes you!

    Maximise security by turning lights on while you’re away:

    It’s natural to worry about people approaching or breaking into your home while you’re away on holiday. Thieves can often tell when a house is unoccupied for any length of time, but you can do your best to deter them by programming your smart lighting to come on as it goes dark for a few hours in the evening, giving the impression that someone is home even when you’re thousands of miles away.

    Long-life smart light bulbs

    In the case of Philips Hue smart light bulbs each bulb could last for up to 15 years or 15,000 hours of use, depending on which one comes first. In comparison the standard light bulbs that you may have in your home at the moment last for between 1,000 and 2,000 hours before they need changing.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

How Affordable Green Housing Enhances Cities

How Affordable Green Housing Enhances Cities

Housing that is affordable to low-income residents is often substandard and suffering from deferred maintenance, exposing residents to poor air quality and high energy bills. This situation can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory health issues, and siphon scarce dollars from higher value items like more nutritious food, health care, or education. Providing safe, decent, affordable, and healthy housing is one way to address historic inequities in community investment. Engaging with affordable housing and other types of community benefit projects is an important first step toward fully integrating equity into the green building process. In creating a framework for going deeper on equity, our new book, the Blueprint for Affordable Housing (Island Press 2020), starts with the Convention on Human Rights and the fundamental right to housing.  

The Pandemic, Inequality, Housing Affordability, and Urban Land

The Pandemic, Inequality, Housing Affordability, and Urban Land

Since the Great Recession of 2008, the housing wealth gap has expanded to include not just Black and Brown Americans, but younger White Americans as well. Millennials and Generation Z Whites are now joining their Black and Brown peers in facing untenable housing precarity and blocked access to wealth. With wages stuck at 1980 levels and housing prices at least double (in inflation adjusted terms) what they were 40 years ago, many younger Americans, most with college degrees, are giving up on buying a home and even struggle to rent apartments suitable for raising a family.

What makes it hard for policy people and citizens to accept this truth is that we have not seen this problem in a very long time. Back in the 1920s of course, but not really since then. But this is actually an old problem that has come back to haunt us; a problem first articulated by Adam Smith in the 1700s.

Multi-modal Transit and the Public Realm

Multi-modal Transit and the Public Realm

More than ever, urban transit services are in need of sustainable and affordable solutions to better serve all members of our diverse communities, not least among them, those that are traditionally car-dependent. New mobility technologies can be a potential resource for local transit agencies to augment multi-modal connectivity across existing transit infrastructures.

We envision a new decentralized and distributed model that provides multi-modal access through nimble and flexible multi-modal Transit Districts, rather than through traditional, centralized, and often too expensive Multi-modal Transit Hubs. Working in collaboration with existing agencies, new micro-mobility technologies could provide greater and seamless access to existing transit infrastructure, while maximizing the potential of the public realm, creating an experience that many could enjoy beyond just catching the next bus or finding a scooter. So how would we go about it?

The Future of Cities

Mayors, planners, futurists, technologists, executives and advocates — hundreds of urban thought leaders publish on Meeting of the Minds. Sign up below to follow the future of cities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Wait! Before You Leave —

Wait! Before You Leave —

Subscribe to receive updates on the Executive Cohort Program!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This