Lighting Fair highlights lessons for Christchurch street lights

April, 2014

During my trip to the Light and Building in Frankfurt I focused on attending seminars rather than analysing all the new light fittings available. During one of these seminars, the focus was a project that was instigated in 2009 to address the need to improve the energy efficiency of public lighting. It was aimed at helping local councils meet their obligations to reduce carbon emissions. Four councils, or municipalities as they are known in Europe, took part. St Helens and Eindhoven were among those.

The results offer some interesting insights for Christchurch. Firstly, the EU initially spent five million Euros on the project. This was used for a variety of things, but included recommendations from experts in the field. Interestingly, this advice was totally ignored. By this time another five million Euros had been added to the pot.

The people decided they wanted the cheapest possible option. Those running the project saw this as a major success because it achieved its aim of reducing carbon emissions, while also limiting the cost.

However, what it means is that street lighting in some areas will be cold and dull and in some others, have too much light. This is in total contrast to what the experts suggested. They too had ways to reduce the carbon emissions, but at the same time beautifying the streets after dark. The only problem was that this option was more expensive. Sadly it seemed in some cases that the only focus was on energy efficiency, with not much regard for City Beautification, or the look at feel of the city.

This is disappointing from the perspective of a Lighting Designer. After being in Paris for over a week, I wanted all cities to look like the French capital after dark. The breath-taking ambience of the Champs-Elysees is a sight to see. I also think we now have a great opportunity to create Christchurch as the Paris of the South.

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Lighting Council New Zealand
Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand Green Building Council
Standards New Zealand
Association of Lighting Designers
Pure Advantage - Green Growth for Greater Wealth
New Zealand Retail Interior Association
Canterbury Employers´ Chamber of Commerce