As the clock ticks down to the 2012 London Olympics the city’s undergoing a mass of building work, but amid the hoardings and cranes there’s a quiet kerb-side revolution hitting the capital’s streets. Meet the LEDs that’ll out-last the games and shed new light on London.
5 things you never knew about LED street lamps
LED street lamps save 40% of power costs, while illumination remains the same at 10,000 lux.
The warranty on a Sharp LED street lamp is 15 years, or 60,000 hours. Old-style street lamps have warranties of 10 years.
New LED lamps don’t attract insects, so there’s less need to clean them frequently.
As well as being cheaper to run, LED street lights need less cleaning and maintenance, saving 90% compared to their predecessors.
LED street lamps often feature motion sensors, so they can dim their light and save even more power when there’s nobody walking past. In Japan, some Sharp models are fitted with seismic detectors, providing emergency lighting in the event of earthquakes.
London is no stranger to LEDs. The iconic Piccadilly Circus has drawn tourists like moths to a promotional flame for over a decade, and the London Eye was fitted with energy-saving LED lights in 2009. But in 2012 one of the capital’s oldest landmarks will adopt its first LED lighting, advertising the city, not a manufacturer, product or attraction.
The city’s iconic Tower Bridge will be covered in thousands of LEDs. They’ll alter in colour, and give staff the ability to switch different parts of the bridge on or off.
The City of London Corporation told the capital’s Evening Standard newspaper, “this will enable Tower Bridge to respond to special events in a unique and spectacular manner,” and sees the landmark follow in the LED-lit footsteps of Paris’s Eiffel Tower and the Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur.
But as well as being glitzy, the team adding LEDs to Tower Bridge will reduce the landmark’s energy consumption by 40%.
And London’s LED facelift doesn’t stop there. LED street lighting is also heading to the capital. The first trials are taking place now across boroughs such as Barnet, Kensington and Chelsea.
What makes LED street lighting so special is its ability to adjust to its surroundings. The first versions reduce electricity use by 40% compared to their predecessors, while motion sensors mean they can dim down to 30% brightness to save an additional 50%.
That’s always-on street lighting that saves 90% of electricity costs when not actively being used. Surely, that’s one of the brightest ideas ever to hit Britain’s capital.