Abu Dhabi: Nearly Dh1.13 billion in street lighting costs for the capital will be saved over the next 20 years as new energy-efficient light fixtures replace the ones currently being used, senior municipality officials have announced.
The new fixtures, which are being installed to light up new roads as well as to retrofit older streets, will allow for cost savings in terms of energy use, maintenance and operations.
“This initiative to make lighting more sustainable in Abu Dhabi city will mainly involved the use of light emitting diode (LED) fixtures, or other equally efficient lighting solutions. These LED lights will use up about 67 per cent less energy over 20 years, compared to the high-pressure sodium lamps currently used in lighting older roads,” Martin Valentine, lighting expert at the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, told Gulf News.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit, which saw industry professionals and urban planning officials on Sunday discuss the latest advances and requirements in the sector.
A study conducted by the municipality in 2008 and 2009 paved the way for the new lighting strategy in the capital, said Abdullah Saeed Al Shamsi, executive director for municipal infrastructure and assets.
Currently, Al Salam Street in the capital is lit with LED fixtures, and lamps on Bainunah Street are also being replaced.
By the end of 2012, the municipality will also issue a request for proposals from industry consultants to retrofit other existing roads.
“We hope to replace all the existing lighting fixtures over the next four to five years,” Valentine said.
Explaining the benefits of LED lighting fixtures, Valentine said they produce less glare and are smaller than the high pressure sodium fixtures used to light up existing roads.
“Because LED fixtures are smaller and point in one direction only, less energy is lost,” he said.
There are also minimum requirements for the LED lights to be installed, including efficacy levels, colour temperature and durability in harsh weather conditions.
In addition, the municipality also requires that all newly installed fixtures be dimmable.
“By installing a simple device to the light fixture in future, the municipality should be able to dim the lights in a residential area, for example,” Valentine said.
In addition to these changes for street lighting, a code released by the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), the umbrella body that oversees all three municipalities in Abu Dhabi emirate, also governs the type of lighting for public realms, including gardens and parking lots.
For example, halogen and tungsten lights, which are comparatively less energy efficient, can no longer be used to light up public spaces, according to the DMA code issued in 2011.
“LED lights, fluorescent lamps and other varieties of energy efficient lighting can be used,” Valentine said.
While energy-efficient lighting is still more expensive, there are long-term cost savings in maintenance, he added.
“We have therefore conducted workshops to explain these benefits to industry professionals. On every project that is begun, we also help the contractors and consultants comply with municipal lighting requirements,” Valentine said.