x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Residents at The Greens complain of being kept in dark to save energy

More efficient lighting at The Greens sparks fears of accidents.

Residents of The Greens are unhappy over what they call poorly lit footpaths.
Residents of The Greens are unhappy over what they call poorly lit footpaths.

DUBAI // Energy-saving lights are proving a little too efficient at one community, where residents say it is only a matter of time before a lack of visibility causes an accident.

The developer Emaar says it installed the lights at The Greens to try to cut down on the energy bill "for the entire community".

But residents are unhappy at what they call poorly lit footpaths, which they fear could lead to traffic accidents and even encourage crime.

The worst areas are on paths between the residential buildings and along the small man-made lakes.

"It's pretty bad," said Saeed Multan, a computer engineer from Pakistan who has lived in the area for two years. "The lights are so dimly lit that it's virtually pitch black between them."

Mr Multan said the lack of visibility could lead to traffic accidents.

"On the main trunk road through the community it can get quite dark," he said. "I don't understand the thinking behind having the lights so low."

Emaar says The Greens, launched in 2002, "were designed and built around the needs of the family with mid-rise residential buildings".

But some residents said the street lighting was not family-friendly.

An Indian mother of two, who did not want to be identified, said the lack of lighting made her worry about her family's safety.

"In some places, particularly between the buildings, there is no lighting at all," she said.

"I don't walk in those areas, especially if I have my children with me."

She said she was not aware of any incidents but preferred to stay close to the more brightly lit areas.

"I know there are security guards around the buildings but I would like to see more of these kinds of areas patrolled," she said.

Samantha Gibson, an American who has been in the community for less than a year, said her main concern was the footpath.

"I go running a lot in the evenings and it can get pretty dangerous, particularly around the lake areas," Ms Gibson said. "The lights are all at the ground level in these bollards but they don't illuminate very well.

"There is probably some light about a metre or so around the bollard but the rest of the path is covered in darkness.

"You get a lot of people out with small children and when you're running it's very difficult to see them."

A German resident said justifying the lights as being cost-efficient was ridiculous.

"I don't know the figures but I doubt the cost would be as high as having the AC switched on all day," he said.

"These lights are only switched on from about 6.30pm.

"We only need them to be turned up a bit more and it's not as if we want to be bathed in light in the evenings, just enough to make the footpaths and pavements a little more visible."

Emaar Properties said it was "exploring other energy-efficient lighting options to further enhance the lighting in the community".

It added: "This will be introduced following the review and acceptance by the various interim boards of owners associations in the community. The street lighting in The Greens was part of the original design and keeping with the lighting design requirements for residential communities.

"It was also designed to reduce the cost of energy consumption for the entire community."

nhanif@thenational.ae