In the small Norwegian town of Hole conventional street lighting has been replaced with LED lights that come on in response to passing cars, bikes and pedestrians, the aim being to enhance road safety for its inhabitants in a more environmentally friendly way.
Situated not far from Oslo and home to around 5,000 people, the Norwegian town of Hole has embarked on a project that combines road safety and respect for the environment, installing a new lighting system on the nearby Highway 155. Comprising LED lights, the system is linked to motion sensors developed by the company Comlight and which cause the lights to switch on automatically when a vehicle or pedestrian passes by and then switch off again, without any human intervention.
When a vehicle passes, the lights are increased to full brightness in its path. Their default illumination is 20% of full output, explains Mashable France.
Weekly energy savings of 2,100 kWh
It is the first patented lighting system in the world that reduces needless energy consumption without compromising road safety. “We have called the system ‘Motion Sensing Street Lighting’, a radar lighting-control system that is automatically activated as soon as movement is detected in the area. The intelligent control system makes it possible to save large amounts of energy on outdoor lighting,” explains Comlight on its website.
YouTuber Bjørn Nyland has tested the new lighting system, which has been installed on a 9km stretch of road. By his calculations, the system will result in energy savings of nearly 2,100 kWh per week, the equivalent to nine hours of TV, 30 hours of computer use or 47 days of smartphone charging. He also estimates that the system will start paying for itself in only four and a half years.
Norway committed to the environmental cause
Norway is well versed in the ways of trialling environmental schemes. The Scandinavian country is a world leader in the electrification of road transport. In 2017 electric cars accounted for a 20.9% share of the national market and hybrids 31.1%. Its objective is for all cars and vans to be sold in 2025 to be zero-emission vehicles.
The Comlight system also protects the environment by combating light pollution, which affects animal and insect behaviour and harms ecosystems. “As a general rule, when the sun sets light levels should remain constant,” explains the company. “It’s good for biodiversity, good for the climate, and good for the environment.”
Can the system be used in France?
The total energy consumption of lighting in France is 56 TW per hour, equivalent to 5.6 tonnes of waste CO2. If the country chose to use new lighting technologies similar to the one being trialled in Hole, it would generate savings of $140bn and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 580 million tons a year, according to figures published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
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