An enlightened move

An LED street light highlights the rain in Vogel St. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
An LED street light highlights the rain in Vogel St. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Dunedin's warehouse precinct is the first to get a taste of new technology set to light the city.

As part of an upgrade of the area, the Dunedin City Council has installed 10 LED street lights in Water and Vogel Sts.

LEDs are likely be installed across Dunedin as the council upgrades its 14,920 high pressure sodium street light lamps during the next few years, roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring says.

The total lighting change will cost $6 million.

However, savings in electricity and maintenance costs mean the lights will pay for themselves within five years, he said.

People wanting to see the new lighting should visit the Warehouse precinct.

The new lights are whiter and brighter, and light spill is contained better.

There is potential to install a central management system to allow light levels to be varied, for lights to be motion-activated, and to have lights switch themselves on and off as it gets lighter or darker, he says.

There is also scope for lights to be solar- or wind-powered.

Good move

It's good to see this change to LEDs. It will save money quite quickly (5 years). Environmental benefits too!

I think it would also be an idea to spend a little more to save more energy/money later. For example dimming the lights between 2am and 6am, or on moonlit nights.

I also wonder about the shapes of them. These will be there for a long time so it's best to get it right.

Progress

Cycling through the area on the way home from work at 1am and the new lights are great. They fit the area well and work as intended. Perhaps a little dimmer than the lights we're used to and more on the cooler shade of white but you can still comfortably see the surrounds. 

Theres still a lot of spill over from the old street lamps, so will be interesting to see the sole effect of LEDs over a larger area.  

Still a win

Trippy: that's kind of the opposite problem - more light coming down from more efficient light to better light the ground means the lights will look brighter if they are between you and the sky - but if you're sky gazing you are naturally going to go to somewhere where there aren't lights between you and the sky.

Light reflected from snow is of course less of a problem in Dunedin. White LED lighting comes in different colour temperatures (colours of white), the city can choose a softer white if they want though I'm sure they are likely driven by traffic safety data.

I  think it's still a win, trading off light spilled directly upwards for less light reflected upwards.

Lights

Speedfreak, I think there are standard fittings for Edwardian lighting On The Waterfront (mumble, scratch, I coulda been a contenda!). I prefer track lighting, overhead angled studio spots, not practical alfresco.

Solution or scourge?

Following the law of unintended consequences, here's a link to a discussion from the point of view of an amature astronomer living in a city that has already made the switch from high pressure sodium vapor lamps to LED lights: LEDs: Light Pollution Solution or Night Sky Nemesis?

Directional

LED lights are directional - one of the reasons why they are more efficient is that more of the energy that's turned into light goes in the direction you want. That means that more light ends up on the street and less light escapes upwards to cause "light pollution".

Glare  probably depends on the design of the particular light - whether light is being sent in just one direction or spread out a little

Light pollution?

Will the new LED lights increase light pollution and glare? 

Not that fitting for the era

Could they have not got something round? Thats my opinion anyway. Does EJKerr have a view on this?

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