In my last post, I proposed turning streetlights or public lighting from being a cost burden, purely a line in the highways budget, into a smart city (you can read town, village or campus here too) connectivity backbone that all departments in the local authority or municipality could benefit from. By investing a bit more money during the streetlight upgrade program - many public bodies are looking to invest in their lighting in order to save energy and maintenance costs - the new lighting can be augmented with a radio node to create a wireless network to which a whole host of sensors and controllers can be attached.
The Cost of Lighting
At enLight we are promoting the message that streetlights have so much more to offer to cities, towns or villages. Today, streetlights are viewed purely as a cost - a budget that has to be allocated to keep the lights powered during the night (or at least most of the time - see my previous post here) and to cover the ongoing maintenance costs for lights that have broken or been damaged. This budget is not insignificant and with continuing budget squeezes at local government level, many are looking to upgrade their lights to save money - a capital investment today that will reap benefits in lower operating costs in years to come.
The Local Authority choice: Lights off or change to LED?
Most local authorities, municipalities or councils today believe that they have to choose one of two options for lowering the total cost of providing public lighting on highways, car parks and footpaths; namely, either turn lights off at night when there are not many people out and about or replace all their lanterns with an LED version. Let's look at each option in turn and assess the total impact of that particular decision and whether there is a very cost effective 3rd option?