LED street lighting would save councils $100m a year: IPWEA Roadmap

Rolling out LED street lighting in Australia would halve energy use and save Australian councils $100 million each year, according to a report released by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA).

The Street Lighting and Smart Controls (SLSC) Programme Roadmap makes 15 recommendations to fast-track Australia’s changeover to LED street lighting.

IPWEA modelling has shown if every street light in Australia were changed over to LEDs, the energy used to power those lights and the greenhouse gas emissions produced would be halved.

With the addition of smart controls – enabling ‘smart city’ functions such as remote monitoring and lights that adjust light levels at different times of the night or when they sense motion – this figure could be as high as 72 per cent.

In Australia, councils spend about $400 million each year on street lighting. Changing over to smart controlled LEDs would reduce that cost by 25 per cent.

In addition, international studies have indicated that the high-quality white light produced by LEDs may have an important role to play in reducing the fear of crime and in reducing road accidents.

However, only 10 per cent of street lights in Australia have been changed over to LEDs, and almost none have been installed with smart controls. Many street lights still use old mercury vapour technology, which is both inefficient and contains the toxic chemical mercury.

IPWEA CEO Robert Fuller says Australia cannot afford to ignore this opportunity to provide communities with better, safer, cheaper and more efficient street lighting.

“The international community has overwhelmingly embraced the technology, placing Australia in a situation where our journey toward LED street lighting is lagging behind some other countries and regions, including in India, the UK and the US,” he said.

Mr Fuller said the Roadmap provided a clear pathway to achieving a large-scale changeover to LED street lighting.

“All of industry, including peak industry associations, have worked collaboratively with all three tiers of government to produce this Roadmap,” he said.

“The addition of smart controls will make street lights the backbone of smart city infrastructure, an innovation that is destined to become increasingly vital as we strive to meet the demands of our growing cities.”

The Roadmap has been compiled in consultation and with the support of the Department of the Environment and Energy, as well as major lighting and smart controls companies.