Lightbulb Flips On Over Emirati Planners

solar LED lights abu dhabi
Sustainable public lighting is mandated in Abu Dhabi City.

Over 6,000 units of sustainable public lighting have been installed across Abu Dhabi’s capital, as part of three separate projects carried out over the past year, according to a statement released to Gulf News by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City . The light fixtures conform to sustainability standards specified in Abu Dhabi emirate’s Sustainable Public Lighting Strategy.  That program was decreed by the Department of Municipal Affairs, which oversees the municipality, along with Al Ain Municipality and the Western Region Municipality.

“The application of this lighting strategy will reduce total lighting costs by as much as 40% over the next 20 years,” said Abdullah Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of Infrastructure and Municipal Assets at the municipality.

“Previously, humans have had several options in using natural resources, but options began to recede with the surfacing of risks of depletion of these resources. It is imperative to embark on balanced thinking that combines maintains the sustainability of resources.”

The new lights will cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 75% and reduce power usage by 60%, compared to the old lighting system these units replace.  The new lights also reduce maintenance works by 40 to 80%  going forward.

What’s really exciting is their plan to gradually dim street lights by up to 50%: light pollution of the evening skies is an incidious side affect of urbanization.

Light pollution is excessive or obtrusive artificial light that spills beyond it’s targeted surfaces, intruding into physical and atmospheric space.  At a minimum, it prevents enjoyment of the natural nocturnal environment, blocking the night sky from view, and interfering with skygazing.

Light pollution also disrupts ecosystems. Nocturnal fauna experience disrupted behavioral cycles, and humans living near excessive light spillage often report sleep disorders and stress.

“The gradual dimming of streets lights will raise the anticipated benefits accruable from this Strategy,” added Al Shamsi.

The Municipality held a series of workshops to facilitate strategy adoption and implementation throughout the emirate.

Revised standards and specifications have been released that apply to lighting on streets, bridges, tunnels, pedestrian areas, public squares and parks.  The standards specify different types of lighting,  detailing acceptable lightpole shapes and heights, nature of lighting, gradual dimming applications, and lighting sources. The specs also clarify minimum light intensity and rate of distribution for several classes of roadway including highways, subsidiary roads, local internal roads, access lanes, walkways and overlapping traffic areas.  Lighting is specified for application underneath bridges and car parks, too.

It’s likely the improvements were instigated by the recent transfer of street lighting  maintenance from the  public joint stock company Abu Dhabi Distribution Company to the municipalities.  The municipalities are trending in takeover of public lighting from developers too, and in the process they are modifying existing fittings which have high energy consumption rates. No matter if the motivation was fiscal, the environmental end result is positive and large. And how great is it that these guys are focusing on premium fixture performance rather than mimicking “stylish”  appearance?

“The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City is undertaking various sustainability initiatives. In cooperation with The Center of Waste Management,  the Municipality embarked on a pilot project to use gravel recycled from the demolition and construction waste in road projects. Over the next few months, the Municipality will also implement a new initiative for improving the performance of the soil in road paving; all of which stem from the vision and drive of developing a sustainable infrastructure in the city and Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” added Al Shamsi.

Hope the neighbors are watching.

Image of new solar light fixtures via solarone.net

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