Energy efficient, intelligent street lighting and the path to the smart cities of the future
A host of factors, from climate change to the structure of the electricity grid, is forcing change onto cities, change that must be managed intelligently to ensure the best outcome for citizens.
Published on Wednesday, 1 July 2020
Cities are changing and the change must be smart.
Climate change, the rise of renewable power sources and soaring energy demand are altering the shape of the world’s megalopolises, the cities of 10 million-plus inhabitants that the United Nations predicts about two-thirds of humanity will call home by 2030. The centrality of cities to people’s lives makes it doubly important that the way the cityscape is organized integrates seamlessly and efficiently with urban lifestyles and needs. It is only when that happens that a city becomes a smart city, catering to the needs of citizens, the environment and of the city itself.
Widespread and efficient street lighting is among the elements that set the modern metropolis apart from cities through all of history prior to the mid-19th century. Whilepublic lighting these days is a huge improvement on the vegetable oil filled lamps used in Ancient Rome, or the blazing torches servants carried through medieval London at night, much of the modern infrastructure still relies on outdated technology. The result is low-quality lighting, frequent faults, pollution and the inefficient use of electrical power. What’s more, lighting services consume as much as 25% of energy spending in cities.
Intelligent street lighting – known as adaptive lighting – includes smart illumination solutions based on efficient, remotely controlled, LED public illumination. This reacts to usage by dimming the light when its sensors detect no movement, and brightens it when activity is taking place. It can be set up to suit only road traffic, or can be combined with monitoring of vehicle traffic, the weather and the amount of natural light that is available. An added benefit is that the same technology can be leveraged to offer other cutting-edge services in monitoring and road safety.
In a competition judged by a panel of experts assembled by the World Economic Forum’s International Energy Community in China to highlight examples of disruptive innovations in the energy sector, Enel X’s intelligent street lighting was deemed “novel, beneficial to society and contributing to accelerating the energy transition”. By replacing the current public lighting infrastructure with one based on cutting edge technology, the smart city can save energy with a flexible system that, by using cameras and other sensors, allows real-time management and control of the illumination of public spaces. Benefits of this revamped infrastructure include rapid identification of faults and failures, thus streamlining maintenance; and the ability to integrate a range of new features as they become available, based on the existing network of sensors.
A wider point is that this view of urban illumination is part of a holistic approach that integrates with the entire city ecosystem, from the safety and security of citizens, to mobility, building management and energy efficiency.
In addition to our LED product range, we offer remote control solutions that build flexibility into the control and management of the lighting infrastructure. This permits a full range of monitoring and diagnostics as regards energy consumption, as well as the easy tracking of faults and the ability to manage them remotely. New services such as adaptive illumination, video surveillance and environmental monitoring can also be added.
Our Control Room interface handles management of lighting and data visualization in a simple and intuitive way that facilitates control of the entire infrastructure. It is designed to allow users to share data, develop reports and access multimedia content in a way that encourages collaboration at every level.
We are also believers in light as a design feature, to ensure that architecture and artworks are perceived in harmony with their surroundings. We have demonstrated this commitment in over 1500 illumination projects around the world including the total overhaul of architectural lighting for Rome’s Pantheon, Pompei, the Real Alcazar in Seville and the Riu Nere in the Catalan mountains. We can support every step needed in implementing a project, from design to finance, including construction, materials, installation and maintenance.
As cities change, Enel X has a complete portfolio of solutions, starting from lighting, to ensure that the change is smart, managed, sustainable and saves the client time, energy and money.