White lighting to save money and energy across the city

Street lighting which could save the Council up to £280,000 a year is set to be rolled out across Edinburgh following a successful pilot.

A report to be discussed at the next Transport and Environment Committee will consider the findings of the pilot in more detail.

New lamps, which make use of ‘white light’ technology, are designed to reduce energy consumption as well as cutting the Council’s annual £2.97m bill to power more than 63,000 street lights across the city.

With energy prices expected to double over the next ten years the Council’s Street Lighting Team began exploring new, more efficient lighting technologies through the White Light Pilot Project in October 2012, when 271 lights were upgraded in two areas of Edinburgh.

The project, carried out in Saughton Mains and Gilmerton Dykes, received an overwhelmingly positive response from residents when it ended in October 2013, with 89% of customers satisfied with the modern lights and 83% stating the brightness of the lamps was ‘about right’.

Newly fitted Outdoor Long Life Fluorescent (PLL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps, dependent on type, can last from five to 20 years compared to existing lights’ current life span of two to four years, and made energy savings of up to 38% in the areas tested. The Police also recommend these as the safest and best option over existing lamps.

The Council has now secured a £2.15m interest free loan from Salix, a Government funding provider, to allow a further 6000 street lights across the city to be converted to LED from February 2014, expected to save the Council £276,000 a year in energy costs. 

When added to a previous Council ‘spend to save’ proposal to install LED lanterns on a number of main roads, this will result in approximately 24% of Edinburgh’s street lighting being upgraded to energy efficient white light sources. 

Plans to introduce more white light technology to the city could also see the installation of LED stair lights maintained by the Council in around 14,100 tenements across the capital. The upgrade would save approximately £1.25m in energy and maintenance annually.

Vice Convener of Transport and Environment Councillor Jim Orr said: “The trials of this technology were a huge success and residents told us they liked the crisper, brighter light and thought it was better than the old kind of street lights.  

“We’re now looking at rolling white lighting across the city which will save millions in the long run as well as making Edinburgh look better. Obviously, these lights are also much more energy efficient which is all part of Edinburgh’s sustainability journey and will provide a safer environment for citizens and visitors."

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