Street Lighting in Europe

5 free Energy Efficiency actions cities should implement on street lighting

Street Lighting in Europe

Regarding public lighting, the European norm EN 13201, not yet mandatory, sets up the illumination levels that need to be maintained in the different categories of public areas, essentially according to the level of safety. While respecting this regulation, conceivable (almost) free actions can be set up to optimize costs: change or modernize lampposts, regularly maintain the lighting lot, choose a rational use of public lighting, etc. Essential actions, detailed below, can help transforming our existing public lighting systems into effective public lighting systems.


  1. Resize street lighting needs: 20% of the electrical installations have an over powerful subscription TODO. True energy and financial savings can be made, if we reduce the power of the installed equipments as well as the number of lamps by lightings. Similarly, in order to avoid the excessive number of lightings by acting on the spacing and the number of lighting points, these can be removed according to their buildings’ architecture and to their street maintenance services.
  2. Adapt the level of illumination: In most EU Member States, firms set up, yet without any mandatory application, the following illumination level: from 10 to 20 lux for lanes open to traffic, 10 lux for pedestrian lanes and parking areas. The installations must respect, in the best possible way, these indicators. Other techniques help avoiding energy waste and limiting luminous nuisances.
  3. Adopt a good maintenance policy: The public lighting equipments, by their exterior location, are always exposed to the meteorological conditions and natural aggressions. A preventive maintenance plan is therefore essential to preserve them in a good condition, maintain their energy performances and control the operating costs. A good maintenance leads to a longer life expectancy of the equipments. Changing the old bulbs at the right moment, not too early, not too late, in order to avoid the rise of electrical consumption due to the decrease of their luminous flow (an over voltage of 10% causes a temperature elevation higher than 20% and reduces the life cycle of the components by 50%) is recommended. While changing, we can ask to clean the optics of the lightings, to check the lamps fixings, the connection and the state of the equipment.
  4. Manage the life time: Energy management systems allow a better management of the ignition of public lighting. These systems can be coupled with variation, regulation or remote management systems. For example, we can name astronomical clocks that bring the necessary flexibility to the management of numerous control points or particular applications (festive lighting, events, etc.) or twilight switches (cells) which measure the quantity of the surrounding natural light and release the necessary lighting from an assigned threshold adapted to the visual task.
  5. Raise awareness and inform: The raising of awareness and the information can concern two types of targets: the municipal agents and the citizens. In order to be in a position to face the issue, municipal agents must be informed on the main areas of action, and on the energy and climate challenges as well as about the new regulations. For the inhabitants of the local and regional authorities, communication campaigns (expositions, debates, lectures, and so on) may raise awareness and mobilize them around innovating solutions in public lighting. Information and awareness sessions in schools can also be useful. Children are sensitive and receptive towards the respect of the environment, they therefore represent essential targets. When taught at a young age, good practices, and the understanding of the issues become more easily reflexes.
Next time, we’ll see 5 other efficient actions with very good payback time every cities should implement.


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