Heyooooo! JimOnLight’s UK correspondent here, coming at you with hot off the press news!
The conversation to dim streetlights during very low traffic levels has been initiated, and it’s causing quite a stir! The Press Association reports:
” Norman Baker, the local transport minister, supported the move as long as safety was not compromised.
In a parliamentary written answer he said: “The level of light reduction will be based upon internationally agreed standards and made in consultation with the UK’s Institute of Lighting Professionals.
“It is right that lighting authorities consider, in the interests of cost-saving and the environment, whether lighting can be sensibly dimmed or turned off, consistent with proper safety assessments.” “
The roads in question are the A roads, the major thoroughfares connecting cities which are not motorways. The Californian side of me would describe A roads as “highways,” while motorways are “freeways.” Kapeesh?
So we like saving the environment, and we like saving money. Why is this such a massive discussion?
Numerous fears including increased crime, automobile accidents, are mixed with financial worries. The conversion would cost a significant sum, and people aren’t sold on MAKIN IT RAIN!
The Telegraph reports:
“…While authorities across the UK are saving £21.5 million per year by turning off nine per cent of lights, the schemes to reduce street lighting cost a total of £106.3 million.
The bill for installing dimming technology or converting lights to part-night operations, which is five times greater than the saving, means some councils will not start seeing the benefits for up to eight years.”
This follows other UK locations, such as the Welsh county of Gwynedd have already experimented in dimming street lights between midnight and 5:30 am. There seems to be much more support of dimming street lights than turning them off. Kirklees and Derbyshire are amongst numerous experiments in turning off street lights, both completely and in selection (1 in 10 seems to be a common cutting ratio). Fears of isolation ensued.
What do you think? Turn ’em all off and make everyone wear headlamps, selective black outs, dimming, ALL OF THE LIGHTS! @ FL or something else?
If you found this interesting, I also posted about the delightfully unexpected results of blue street lights in Glasgow as well as Japan here. I’m imagining these cobalt lamps as urban super heros, stopping crime and saving lives! Neato burrito.
I had a two hour layover at Frankfurt Airport in Germany on my way to the USA from Sweden. After I had found my gate (after consequently going from one end of the airport to the other, lost), I noticed that the airport had some amazing lighting!
Of course I noticed that. Of course I did. I am a nerd.
I have been looking for the one fixture that I saw the most of when I was walking around – the application of this fixture was genius in my opinion. Frankfurt Airport has a large area of its walkways with very low ceilings made from what appear to be aluminum beams spaced about two inches apart. Instead of sticking some linear fluorescent fixtures or otherwise half-hearted design idea in this space, they have mounted clusters of these Siteco brand washers that give the ceiling a really great look. The color temperature is rather warm, and contrasts nicely with the daylighting coming in from the windows. Take a look:
The fixtures are mounted on a hanging trapeze of sorts, and I think I only saw them in groups of six at a time. The Siteco logo is very small on some of the luminaires, and I have been looking for about an hour for the model information for them. I have an email into Siteco asking about the fixture – I’ll update the post when I hear back.
They were really beautiful – simple, directional, and effective. They created wonderful hot spots on the ceiling that washed across large areas on the metal ceiling structure. Very cool.
I’ve not been to Austin a lot – a few times for working and visiting – but this is the kind of project I would want to see if I lived there. Meet the SunFlowers, a photovoltaic sculpture garden that collects solar energy and turns it into night time light:
A blurb from Good Mag on the project:
Comprised of 15 flower-shaped photovoltaic solar panels that line a pedestrian and bike path on the greenbelt between a retail lot and highway I-35, SunFlowers was unveiled on July 30. In such close proximity to a prominent highway, the 30-foot structures are, as Harries/Héder put it, “a highly visible metaphor for the energy-conscious city of Austin.” But because each one is a working solar collector, the art piece is both emblematic and functional.
The energy that the panels collect during the day is used, come nightfall, to power SunFlowers’ stunning blue LEDs, which illuminate the path below for bike-riders and walkers, and generally beautifying the area. An extra 15 kilowatts generated each day is fed back into the grid and used offset the costs of operation and maintenance.
What do you think of this installation? I’m actually a fan of projects like this – projects that use technology like solar tech and repurpose it in a dual role as art and civil lighting interest me. The developer paid a large part of the project, and a grant was given for the materials.
Some information on the project from Mags Harries and Lajos Heder’s website – the creators of the SunFlowers project:
Location: Austin, TX
Client: Catellus Development Co.
Size: 30′ x 1000′ x 16′
Materials: Photovoltaic solar collector panels, welded steel frames and stems, landforms and plantings
$470,000 from the Developer
$75,000 from Austin Energy rebate
$50,000 grant from Applied Materials Inc.
The 15 SunFlowers that form the Electric Garden are sculptural solar collectors that generate solar energy for lighting at night. The additional 15 kilowatts of energy that they produce is fed into the electrical grid for credit, which will fund the maintenance and operating costs for the project. During the day they provide shade for a pedestrian/bicycle path and at night the LED’s in the SunFlowers’ stamens glow with blue light.
SunFlowers was initiated as a buffer to mask the loading docks at the edge of the Mueller Development from the I-35 highway.
To date, this is the largest public art project in the City of Austin. SunFlowers is both an icon for the sustainable, LEED certified Mueller Development and a highly visible metaphor for the energy conscious City of Austin.
The custom-made solar collector panels have a blue crystalline surface and appear like a garden of huge flowers facing the northbound traffic on I-35.
More images of the project: