What does 2017 hold for lighting?
In 2016 the ongoing revenue budget pressures placed on local government organisations continued to make the introduction of LED street lighting an attractive proposition.
The initial capital investment per lighting point when introducing LED technology is now comparable with conventional light source lighting - eg Cosmopolis or high pressure sodium - and energy-savings are significant with more than a 60% saving capable of being realised when you apply current UK guidance and standards.
Ongoing maintenance costs are also significantly reduced. LED lanterns with over 20 years’ maintenance-free life expectancy are being proffered by manufacturers, the consequence being reduced reactive maintenance due to lamp failure and reduced routine maintenance because the traditional four to six year cyclic lamp change is no longer required.
The use of smart technology, enabled by the introduction of central management systems, and monitoring and control continued to develop in 2016, but the per point premium remains an issue in terms of financial justification and payback for many local councils.
In our experience, the trend in 2016 was for organisations to future-proof by specifying LED lanterns that can accommodate wireless technology if/when it becomes affordable.
More affordable solutions in the smart city sector will no doubt be introduced by manufacturers. The challenge is for local councils to develop business cases that recognise and quantify the non-street lighting financial benefits when assessing smart city technology payback.
For 2017, I predict that manufacturers will focus on affordability, and contractors should make health and safety and ‘considerate construction’ a priority. ‘Nothing is so important that it cannot be done safely’ is a phrase that underpins everything that we do and sets the foundations of every business within our industry.
With any project that we undertake, we programme our work in areas, informing stakeholders in advance, reducing our carbon footprint and maximising efficiency. For North East Lincolnshire, and now for Hillingdon, we also have a dedicated supervisor undertaking safety and quality checks to ensure the installation meets with the relevant output specification. We use dedicated installation crews, with two-man working and ensure that pedestrian management is also deployed in relation to good industry standards and practice.
The use of LED as a light source remains a relatively new technology in terms of providing light in the outdoor environment. Local government street lighting specifiers need to continue to monitor and understand the latest technologies available to them when developing appropriate solution and policy. Those ‘quantifying’ business cases will be vital for both local authorities and the industry as a whole going forward.
Tiz Gibson is local authority business director at J McCann & Co Ltd.