Urban redevelopment progresses at the speed of light

Enel X’s public and artistic lighting projects colour cities and historic sites with the green of financial savings and environmental sustainability

Published on 8 January 2019

Urban redevelopment progresses at the speed of light

Recover, regenerate, redevelop – concepts that Enel X has wholeheartedly embraced and integrated into its corporate mission. Limiting waste, cutting consumption and making the installations more efficient, safeguarding the environment and improving quality of life for cities and the people who live in them.

Enel X’s innovative drive has generated a new lighting concept, a unique combination of maximal energy savings and increased sensory comfort. It’s new culture of light, one that we want to support and promote in close collaboration with local governments, companies and citizens. In order to achieve this we have launched a number of projects in Italy and the rest of the world that have transformed street lighting into a new financial and eco-compatible instrument serving the historic, artistic and landscape heritage.  

It is necessary to modernise installations by implementing energy efficiency initiatives that generate considerable savings and significantly better performance in terms of both environmental sustainability and safety. The digital technology developed in-house by Enel X has helped create a “smart street light” that does far more than simply light the streets of our cities with its eco-friendly LEDs. These new street lights can best be described as technological service stations that fit perfectly into the smart city environment that all urban communities should aim to create. For example, a video camera can be mounted on the terminal to monitor traffic and public safety, with special movement sensors to record the presence of vehicles and pedestrians. This system regulates the light emitted in response to real-time needs, resulting in perfect energy efficiency. Of course, the new “smart street lights” also feature a public Wi-Fi connection and will soon be equipped to host e-vehicle charging stations.

This raft of initiatives goes by the name of Smart Lighting, making light more intelligent.  In recent years Enel has shown itself to be a cutting-edge organisation in the field of public lighting projects that aim to enhance our perception of the spaces that surround us and maximise their aesthetic impact while maintaining the highest standards of energy and financial savings, with a special emphasis on reducing light pollution. An excellent example of this is the project undertaken in Linares, a city in the Maule region of Chile where Enel X has installed 9,000 LED lighting units. This has led to significant savings. The new lighting system, which has a useful lifetime over three times longer than its predecessor’s, has enabled the Chilean city to cut energy consumption by 63%. The project has not only involved the modification of over 80% of the public lighting in Linares but also enhanced the perception of safety in the streets for the city’s 80,000-plus residents.

This type of initiative can also be extrapolated to much larger contexts. In the metropolitan region of Santiago Enel X has won a tender for replacing and maintaining 17,684 public lighting units in Quilicura, a city with over 220,000 inhabitants. Latest-generation LEDs with a life expectancy of up to 100,000 hours form part of an efficient restyling that provides the South American city with savings of 61%.

As well as giving city streets and districts a new look, light can also bring new splendour to historical and natural sites. Our artistic lighting projects have embellished many jewels of the cultural, historic, artistic and landscape heritage in Italy and abroad, enhancing perception of details and heightening the emotional experience. Take, for example, the lighting revamp we carried out for the Nere River in Catalonia. In collaboration with the municipality of Vielha e Mijaran, the Endesa Foundation turned to the expertise offered by Enel X for a project to highlight the course of the Riu Nere, a setting rich in historical importance, with maximum-efficiency LEDs emitting a perfect colour temperature. The 37 low-energy and low environmental impact projectors installed along the river’s embankments emphasise the cultural path traced by the river along the Val d’Aran (Aran Valley). Light panels have also been installed to intensify the symbolic importance of this water resource to people in the area and draw attention to the path to be followed when darkness falls by visitors seeking to listen to the voice of the Nere as it tells its tales of history and nature.

The sustainable lighting developed and installed by Enel X transforms cities, art and nature, creating value and promoting culture and sharing. It respects both the environment and the smarter, greener future we are building together.

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