New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/9 - Page 65

These pages:Andy Collins, technical principal, lighting design of Opus International, discusses LED street lighting technology, and asks the question: is New Zealand keeping up with the pace of change? The recent Road Lighting Conference in Auckland included a selection of high-calibre speakers from across Europe and the United States. They outlined the degree to which LED road lighting has been adopted overseas, which raised interesting questions for New Zealand. The City of Los Angeles, for example, has nearly completed a programme to replace 140,000 predominately 100w, high-pressure sodium lights with LED luminaires. These produce an equivalent light but offer energy savings approaching 60%. New York City is about to start an even bigger programme, with 240,000 luminaires. During the post-presentation Q&A sessions at the conference, it was implied that New Zealand was “backward”, and slow to take up these new technologies. But is this true? LED lighting is a proven, low-risk alternative to traditional forms of street lighting. It has been widely adopted in both Europe and America, as mentioned above, as well as here in New Zealand, with both Auckland Transport (AT) and Christchurch City Council (CCC) becoming converts. By incorporating the new technology into their respective design standards and specifications these two organisations, collectively representing more than 50% of New Zealand’s street lighting infrastructure, have led the way for an ever-growing list of councils to adopt the technology. LED technology benefits Dramatic reductions in energy costs, combined with the inherently greater reliability of LED technology, mean fewer maintenance visits and fewer costs incurred over the life of an LED installation, compared to a traditional HPS installation. LED lighting also reduces reliance on fossil fuels. In addition, LED street lighting offers ways to deal with light pollution. Excessive artificial light can disrupt ecosystems and interfere with the circadian rhythm that governs human and animal sleep patterns. LED light is highly directional and can be concentrated where it’s needed. This minimises wasted upward light, significantly reducing light pollution. Dimming allows lighting levels to be reduced in areas where traffic volumes drop below a pre-determined level. For instance, dim lighting is ideal on suburban streets at night, without compromising safety and security. LED and dimming-based solutions dramatically reduce capital and operating costs over the life of a luminaire while delivering real sustainability benefits to New Zealand communities in conformance with legislative requirements. However, in New Zealand there is currently no means of capitalising on the reduced energy consumption brought about by dimming because of the way energy tariffs are calculated. This needs to be explored further by the electricity authority, to endorse, for example, charging regimes that allow dimming to be taken into account. Intelligent design Adoption of LED is not itself the solution to sustainable, cost-effective street lighting. The technology must be coupled with intelligent design to maximise economic and sustainability benefits. Intelligent design is also necessary to address compliance with applicable standards, and to ensure that street lighting investment is driven by a whole-of-life, total cost-of-ownership perspective. Evaluation procedures AT and CCC have devised stringent evaluation processes for selection of LED luminaires. This has been made necessary by the high amount of SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT 63