Heads of state and government from 19 countries and the European Union will meet at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, this weekend to discuss a range of challenging global issues, including climate protection. In practice, initiatives like those undertaken by E.ON’s regional distribution companies (RDCs) in Germany are already promoting energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental protection in cities and communities. One example is LED streetlighting.
In August, Bayernwerk, E.ON’s RDC in southeast Germany, will begin upgrading the streetlighting in Altötting, one of the country’s best-known places of pilgrimage. Most—about 1,300—of the city’s streetlights will be converted to efficient LED technology. This will enable Altötting to consume 460,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year less for streetlighting—75 percent less than currently—and emit 230 metric tons less carbon. That roughly equals the amount of carbon emitted by 20,000 passenger vehicles traveling 100 kilometers.
About 95,000, or more than 10 percent, of the streetlights operated by E.ON in Germany are equipped with bright, efficient, energy-efficient LED units. Together, they emit 14,000 metric tons less carbon annually than traditional technology, roughly equivalent to the average per capita carbon emissions of 1,750 Germans. The trend toward LED technology continues apace.
E.ON’s RDCs in Germany are responsible for a total of just under 800,000 streetlights and the ancillary cable infrastructure, making them the country’s largest streetlight operator. A single streetlight typically has one, two, or three lighting elements.
E.ON is conducting a number of pilot projects in Germany aimed at making the lighting of public streets and squares simpler and more cost-effective. The company is testing new lights as well as light control systems that transmit data about the lights’ current operating status and, if they malfunction, automatically send an SMS or email to a technician. In addition, illumination levels can be controlled directly via mouse click or according to a predetermined schedule. For example, illumination can be reduced late at night when there is little traffic.
Combining state-of-the-art hardware and software for streetlighting not only delivers tangible energy savings. It also creates a platform for other digital solutions. In the future, smart streetlights will be able to do things like gather information on carbon dioxide levels, particulate matter emissions, traffic flow, and open parking spaces and transmit it to a central control center.