objectives of a basic lighting retrofit,” she said. “Ideally, a city
should want to reduce energy use now, capture some main-
tenance benefits and implement the technology capable of
manipulating the lighting infrastructure to take advantage of
People are familiar with scheduled lighting shutoff or dim-
ming light levels, but, with intelligent controls, management of
lighting maintenance and dimming evolves into real-time light
control, capable of responding to specific inputs. Renner pointed
to a citywide deployment in Cambridge, Mass., which modified the
sequences of lighting operation based on neighborhood character-
istics so that some residential neighborhood lighting was dimmed
to lower levels for longer periods at night.
Many cities are seeking low energy consumption and even
intelligence but want to keep historical or decorative fixtures,
“Cities are rarely willing to compromise the aesthetics of these
types of fixtures, so [they] are looking for effective and reliable control solutions,” she said.
Companies such as Echelon offer line-control platforms with
this capability in addition to the ability to integrate with wireless
control platforms to implement unified control across a range of
lighting fixtures, including historic and decorative ones.
To retrofit a lighting infrastructure, most municipalities use an
energy service company (ESCO) to orchestrate the installation,
Renner said. She suggested that contractors should seek out their
regional ESCO to become part of the installation team.
Just the beginning
There’s still a lot of growth ahead. Of the 140 million streetlights
installed worldwide last year, only 19 million were LEDs, according to IHS Technology. By 2020, LEDs are expected to account for
100 million of the installed base of 155 million streetlights. Annual
sales of LED streetlights will jump from $4.3 billion to $10.2 billion in the same time period. Boston, Seattle and New York are
all undertaking big retrofits. New York’s $76 million project will
be the largest in the country, with the goal of replacing 250,000
lights by 2017. City officials expect to reap $14 million in energy
and maintenance spending per year.
The global growth of cities also opens up the market for industry players to grow their business in new and emerging smart
cities. The infrastructure investment for these cities is forecast to
be $30–$40 trillion over the next 20 years.
LED retrofits timed with controls are being used for building
applications and on city streets for various outdoor cases, said
Stuart Cowan, chief scientist at Smart Cities Council, Redmond,
Wash., and adviser for smart-city deployments. Once intelligence
is built in, users can provide Internet connectivity, electric vehicle charging stations and air quality sensors, for example. Wi-Fi
connections, cellular networks and other wireless or wired connections manage data collection.
“There are all kinds of different networks being done,” Cowan
said. “New kinds of partnerships are developing.”
He sees cities, utilities and third-party smart services provid-
ers taking part in the installations. In some cases, third parties are
coming in to help pay for and manage the installations.
Elements of smart cities can already be seen everywhere, including municipal Internet networks and sensors. Cowan predicted that
major adoptions will be underway in nearly all major cities within
10 years, with full adoption coming in 20 years.
“The No. 1 reason? We need it,” he said.
S WEDBERG is a freelance writer based in western Washington. She
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ideally, a city should want to reduce energy
use now, capture some maintenance benefits,
and implement the technology capable of
manipulating the lighting infrastructure to
take advantage of emerging applications.
—Rita Renner, Echelon
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