When it comes to something as simple as street lighting, the Europeans have it sussed.
Back in December, I told you about a new project in Copenhagen called DOLL – the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab.
It’s a 1.5-square-kilometer area that’s the largest smart-lighting experiment in the world.
Basically, 18 companies and 10 management systems are trialing 50 lighting systems, in hopes of achieving more-energy-efficient street lighting. Sensors pick up on movement from cars, pedestrians, bikes, etc., and the lights illuminate as they pass by. When there’s no activity, the street stays dark.
It’s based on the internet, whereby each lamp has its own IP address and can be controlled centrally.
Ultimately, Copenhagen wants to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city. Or at least cut down on the 20% of electricity consumption that goes towards street lighting.
The city’s efforts and innovations have spurred others to enact similar projects. Like Madrid, for example…
The Spanish capital is going smart.
In the largest urban street-lighting replacement plan in the world, Madrid is dumping 225,000 of its traditional street light bulbs, and substituting them with brighter, more-energy-efficient LED bulbs instead.
This beats Los Angeles, which recently replaced 141,000 old-school lights with LEDs.
In doing so, it will slash Madrid’s annual energy consumption by a hefty 36%.
That reduction is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from 100,000 vehicles per year, according to Gemma Gallego, Head of Public Lighting and Special Installations at Madrid’s City Council.
Not only that, because LED bulbs last much longer than the existing lights – over 50,000 hours – maintenance costs are also reduced.
Given that around 40% of an average city’s electricity usage goes towards street lighting, it’s a forward-thinking plan from Madrid officials to maximize efficiency, while cutting energy usage, emissions, and costs. And though it’ll cost around $160 million to implement, it will subsequently save around $130 million over the next years – and eventually pay for itself.
And it’s nothing new for Madrid, either. The city first tested LED lights in traffic lights back in 2004. If only all cities showed such vision.