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Energy-efficient LED street lighting saves on energy costs and reduces carbon emissions, and at the same time improves the user experience



Energy-efficient LED street lighting saves on energy costs and reduces carbon emissions, and at the same time improves the user experience

Rising energy costs and concerns over carbon emissions are the primary driving factors behind the adoption of new technology in lighting globally. VTT has developed an energy-efficient street lighting concept in a Tekes-funded research project, AthLEDics.

The total general lighting market is expected to rise to EURO 88 billion by 2020, in which public outdoor lighting is the most significant segment holding about 7%. VTT’s smart luminaire prototypes are installed in a pedestrian precinct in Helsinki (Kartanonkaari), where pilot tests are taking place. The energy savings, as well as end-user feedback, are reviewed and compared with five different commercial luminaires. 

Current street lighting is still based on traditional time-controlled solutions. A low intelligence level means that lights are on at night-time, and there is no light level management. The luminaires are working at full power all the time, even if less power would be sufficient. Thus, a reduced power consumption and more intelligent lighting solutions are needed. VTT’s Smart lighting research brings street lighting to the next level in intelligence, as sensors and wireless control systems are integrated into the street light system.

Integrated sensors for light, temperature, and pedestrian presence together with wireless control and communication of the luminaires are utilized to deliver different lighting modes. Besides the traditional operation of luminaires with constant drive current, with added intelligence the street lights are able to operate at constant lux levels, as well as adapting according to the presence of pedestrians. Smart luminaires store the data of their functions, such as lighting mode, light levels, temperature, detected pedestrian count and energy consumption, so that the effect of added intelligence can be measured. In addition the large-scale adoption of LED luminaires requires broader user acceptance. For this reason especially, the end user aspect is highlighted in VTT’s StreetLight prototypes and extensively studied by our research partner, the lighting laboratory of Aalto University.    

What is more, high quality outdoor lighting enables safe and pleasant traffic conditions for vehicles and pedestrians. Smart lighting makes this possible simultaneously with reduced total power consumption and lower light pollution. Up to an 80% saving potential is assumed with an advanced luminaire and control system when compared with the old technology. There is a strong indication that smart street lighting will be big business even in the near future

AthLEDics project is funded by Tekes and following partners of the project Aalto University, Alppilux, City of Helsinki, City of Jyväskylä, Enerpoint, Ensto Finland, Hella Lighting Finland, Helvar, Herrmans, LumiChip, MTG-Meltron, Oplatek, Sabik, Senaatti-kiinteistöt, Valopaa and YIT. 

Additional information:

Eveliina Juntunen
Research Scientist
+358 40 548 9986