E.ON installing LED street lights and traffic signals in Blackpool

Feb. 23, 2010
A coastal resort town in the UK famous for its decorative illuminations is benefiting from a multiyear project to replace street lights and traffic signals with LED fixtures.
Work has already begun on a 25-year project which will upgrade, operate and manage 20,000 street lights and 2,000 traffic signals on nearly 430 km of highway in Blackpool, a seaside resort town in the north of England. The project will track energy savings and carbon emissions at every stage of the rollout.

E.ON Sustainable Energy, part of energy company E.ON, will install and maintain LED street lights and LED traffic signals on behalf of the Community Lighting Partnership, a consortium between consulting engineers Pell Frischmann; and property partnership company Telereal Trillium.

The Community Lighting Partnership recently secured a 25-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) encompassing both street lighting and traffic signals for Blackpool, the first place in the world to install electric street lighting in 1879.

The LED street lights and traffic signals could save Blackpool Council tax payers up to 25% of their street lighting bill, according to E.ON's estimates, as well as removing over 1400 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. (These figures are based on a 50-watt LED light with a burn time of 4180 hours per year for each light type versus a more traditional 70-W SON light running at 85W for the same timescale.)

The project will use the Marlin LED street lights recently unveiled by E.ON Sustainable Energy and Advanced LEDs Ltd, a UK-based LED lighting manufacturer.

Benefits of LED lighting

As well as saving money through reduced maintenance and energy usage, Blackpool Council were particularly interested in the potential benefits of LED-based lighting in improving road safety, helping tourism and even reducing crime.

"LED lighting is expected to reduce the number road accidents, and improve the quality of CCTV pictures," said Richard Scott, Head of Consultancy for E.ON Sustainable Energy. The company has performed extensive testing of the LED street lights at its own facilities.

Scott says that the rollout began in January, despite some unexpected bad weather, and is expected to take 5 years before all the street lights and traffic signals are replaced.

For the Blackpool project, everything from the energy use of the luminaire to the design of the carbon-neutral aluminum street-light columns have been scrutinized for ways to conserve resources and reduce energy consumption.

The system will also utilize remote monitoring technology and a dynamic management system which Scott refers to as "dimming and trimming." This could for example allow lights to be dimmed, and will also indicate when lights are not functioning, removing the need for maintenance engineers to visit each light to check its performance.

According to figures from E.ON, street lighting uses an estimated 2% of the UK’s electricity, meaning that if all the street lights in the UK were replaced with LED alternatives, over 6 million tonnes of carbon could be saved over a 30 year period.