Last year I explored some of the interesting work being done by Dutch lighting giant Phillips in the smart cities space. Central to their strategy is to make lampposts smarter, both in terms of collecting a whole bunch of environmental data, but also in functioning in a more efficient way.
The potential of the latter approach was outlined by the EU’s Sharing Cities project, who recently suggested that replacing the existing streetlight network with smart lampposts could save €2.1 billion per year.
Smart street lighting
They suggest that smart street lights often use 70% less energy than existing lighting, which given that around €3 billion is spent on street lighting across Europe, the savings are considerable.
The organization revealed that around 75% of street lights across Europe were over 25 years old, so there are also considerable savings possible in lower maintenance costs as well as energy savings.
Smarter lampposts can also perform the tasks outlined by Phillips last year, including monitoring air pollution, tracking traffic levels and even directing drivers to vacant parking spaces. The team believe that hunting for a parking space adds considerably to traffic congestion, which collectively costs the EU states €100 billion per year.
The Sharing Cities project is currently testing smart lampposts in six cities across Europe to help drive the technology forwards. Thousands of them are currently in place, with the eventual aim of installing 56,000 units in hundreds of cities across Europe.
“Smart lampposts are a win-win. They help slash energy bills for taxpayers and make cities a more pleasant environment in which to live and work,” the team say. “Smart lampposts generate massive savings equivalent to employing tens of thousands of doctors or nurses every year. It’s key that cities embrace smart lampposts in a bid to free up money to be spent on vital public services.”