x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Abu Dhabi dims the lights

Abu Dhabi is on an energy-saving drive that will see the emirate dim street lamps by 50 percent, and replace 120,000 bulbs that are more energy efficient.

Abu Dhabi is on an energy-saving drive that will see the emirate dim street lamps and change 120,000 light bulbs in the next five years.
Abu Dhabi is on an energy-saving drive that will see the emirate dim street lamps and change 120,000 light bulbs in the next five years.

ABU DHABI // The city's street lights will be replaced with more efficient ones as part of the capital's sustainable-energy campaign.

The programme, which should be completed within five years, will replace the high-pressure sodium lights with light-emitting diodes (Leds).

"We have seen a lot of opportunities to improve ourselves in terms of sustainability," said Abdullah Al Shamsi, executive director of municipal infrastructure and assets at Abu Dhabi Municipality.

"One of those opportunities is lighting. We have a programme for the entire city to be really sustainable in terms of lighting."

Mr Al Shamsi was speaking at the Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit, an industry event in the capital that finishes today.

While Leds are more expensive than the older lights, they are about 60 per cent more energy efficient.

The street lights now in use also contain mercury so they require special treatment once they are spent, said Martin Valentine, a lighting expert at the municipality.

The municipality will also dim the lights by up to 50 per cent.

"The current luminance levels are among the highest in the world," said Mr Valentine.

The reduction will make roads safer, with less glare, he said. Leds also emit a white light that improves visibility, as opposed to yellow in the current fittings.

The municipality wants to introduce the lights with the help of private companies that will design, source, install and operate the new system, receiving an annual fee for their services. It will take between four and five years.

There are 120,000 light fixtures to be changed in Abu Dhabi city. The initiative is one part of the plan to make lighting in the city more sustainable.

"The current problem is the inefficient, outdated technology on roads and in public areas," said Mr Valentine.

"There is also a lot of light pollution as a result of this."

Rules to be introduced include limiting the brightness of building lights and setting the strength of exterior lights to match the colour and material of facades.

Ramad Krishnan, of the consultancy Lighting Design Alliance, said the new rules opened the market for more competition among lighting manufacturers, but he questioned how quickly the industry could catch up.

"It is very good to have basic guidelines but implementing is where you get into a lot of bottlenecks," Mr Krishnan said.

"Abu Dhabi is taking a good step forward and, once implemented, it will be a lovely place once the sun goes down."

vtodorova@thenational.ae