Street Light Revolution


A quiet revolution has taken place across many of Britain’s roads in recent years with noticeable differences to drivers and pedestrians alike. The night time dim orange glow has been replaced by a clear white illumination.

Previously, most streetlights in the UK had large high pressure sodium bulbs. The orange glow comes from the very narrow spectrum emitted from the sodium atoms in electrical discharge. Visit the Georgia State University website for more info. These bulbs introduced around the 70ís were chosen due to their relative cost and power consumption.

LED (light emitting diode) lights on the other hand now offer a revolution in external lighting. Although LEDs have been around for many years it is only recently that pure white light can be produced at high quality, reliable and cost effective LEDs. LED street lights use around 40-80% less electricity and have over 5 times the life expectancy. LED lamps produce instantaneous light and can both be dimmed to vary with times of night and developed to be directional to reduce light pollution. Apart from the great operating capabilities and reduced energy intensity, at end of life they are recyclable and donít contain lead or mercury like other bulbs.

A good example is that since 2014, more than 12,600 streetlights on Hertfordshire’s A-roads have been upgraded to LED lighting. Although the initial cost of this roll-out is £6.5m, the benefits in energy saving and lower maintenance will be £660,000 per year. Visit the Hertfordshire County Council website for more information.

The main picture shows a lone sodium bulb in Hertfordshire surrounded by newly installed drops of white light produced by the new efficient and cost saving LED lights.

What changes have you seen in your community to reduce power consumption?

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