Laura Sharman 20 March 2015

Council agrees loan to finance low-energy street lighting

Council agrees loan to finance low-energy street lighting image

Glasgow City Council has become the first local authority to use a ‘Green Loan’ to roll-out LED street lighting.

The £6.3m finance agreement from the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) will allow the council to replace 10,000 street lanterns, which should pay for themselves through energy savings.

The new lights will use at least 50% less energy than the existing ones, and will cut the council’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 18,000 tonnes over the next 18 years.

Gregor Paterson-Jones, managing director of energy efficiency at the GIB, said: ‘Councils that make the switch to LEDs could make financial savings immediately, with their street lighting electricity bills up to 80% lower and overall energy consumption down by around 20%. This would make significant contributions to financial budgets and carbon reduction targets.

‘Uptake of LED street lighting has been slow so far, but we have spoken to more than 100 local authorities across the UK over the past year and believe one of the barriers is the impact the up-front cost of replacing bulbs with LEDs, columns and intelligent management systems would have on annual budgets. But the GIB’s Green Loan can help councils to spread that cost over up to 25 years, increasing loan repayments as the savings increase and showing real “spend to save”.’

The next phase of the project will see the council upgrade 60,000 more street lamps and their columns, incorporating intelligent lighting.

Cllr Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, added: ‘Street lighting is an essential service and so it makes sense to deliver it in a cost-effective way, which is exactly what we’ve been able to do here, while supporting Scotland and the UK hit their climate change reduction targets.’

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