The LED future – Outdoor lighting for sustainable, livable cities
In addition to sustainability, the notion of “livability” is gaining momentum. As urbanization accelerates, cities have to compete more for people and businesses, which requires them to create strong civic identities and attractive living environments. The Philips Livable Cities Think Tank has identifed the three essential ingredients of a livable city: resilience, inclusiveness, and authenticity. Resilience focuses on a city’s fexibility and ability to adapt to changing conditions and requirements; inclusiveness refers to a city’s ability to generate a sense of community in all sections of the population, irrespective of gender, age and ethnicity; and authenticity is the local character or identity of a city.
No less than one-third of all road lighting worldwide still uses lighting technology dating back to the 1960s. Cost and energy savings of 40-65% could be made simply by switching to newer, more energy-effcient lighting solutions – most notably: Light-Emitting Diode. It is estimated that switching to LED lighting globally would result in savings of up to €130 billion in reduced energy costs each year and prevent the annual release of 670 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere – an impact equivalent to the elimination of 640 mediumsized power stations.
Further energy savings are possible with adaptive, networked lighting solutions that remain dimmed for much of the time, but intensify automatically when more light is needed (for example when a car or pedestrian approaches, or in unfavorable weather conditions). Both on-site occupancy sensing and/or publically available online information can be used to control lighting levels. And the advantages don’t end there: when combined with smart controls, LED lighting offers a virtually endless array of possibilities to address the specifc needs of streets or neighborhoods. Smart LED lighting can transform the mood and atmosphere of public spaces in an instant, bringing people together for late-night festivals or sporting events, or preserving the night-time quiet of residential streets. LED installations also reduce light pollution and light hindrance because they allow for much better control of light distribution and brightness than conventional installations. In short, they can ensure that light supports the full range of activities that contribute to contemporary city life.