ABU DHABI // Plans to fit every street light and traffic signal with energy-efficient bulbs will save the municipality up to Dh1 billion over the next 20 years, officials estimate.
Light-emitting diode (Led) lights cost about 40 per cent more than traditional high-pressure sodium bulbs, said Martin Valentine, a lighting expert at the municipality.
But while sodium street lights last about two years, the Led types have a life of at least 12.5 years, Mr Valentine said.
With about 620,000 street lights in Abu Dhabi, the municipality estimates between Dh500 million and Dh1bn will be saved, including the cost of changing the Led lights once.
The municipality launched a public-lighting strategy about a year ago, including plans for Led lighting and dimming lights.
The programme was moving "quite swiftly", Mr Valentine said, speaking at the World Future Energy Summit on Thursday.
"The first sign of things to come is Salam Street," he said.
Revamped sections of the busy city road opened last year with Led street lights and traffic signals, between Khalifa and Al Falah streets.
"All new projects use Led technology," Mr Valentine said.
Elsewhere, street lights will be fitted with Leds when their bulbs are due to be replaced, he said.
"Most of the existing lighting will be replaced anyway within the next five to six years."
Sodium bulbs are inefficient and cause more light pollution and glare than Leds, which are also more environmentally friendly to make and dispose of.
"They have no inert gases, no filaments, no dangerous chemicals," Mr Valentine said. "A lot of [old] lamps have mercury, phosphorus."
Several cities in the United States, Hungary and elsewhere have fitted some or all of their street lights with Leds.
The next step is to dim certain street lights between midnight and dawn when traffic density is lower, Mr Valentine said.
"It will be done on a case-by-case basis," he said, explaining a need to balance energy efficiency with public safety.