Our recent history is scattered of technological breakthroughs that once constituted a small revolution and that with the passage of time were improved or surpassed by new technology. They all have a common denominator: the significant brake to their development that they have experienced in their beginnings evidenced by either their high cost or by their difficult implementation in the markets.
Incandescent lighting has for more than one hundred years been a technically incontestable product through technical improvements and new applications, but the advent of LED in lighting has represented such a technological leap that the cost or difficulty of implementation brakes have turned into energy savings, easy returns on investment and simple applications.
In 1927 a Russian engineer Oleg Losev, noticed that when the current went through the diodes of his old appliance, there was a flash of light. These observations led to the fabrication of a crystalline diode based on zinc oxide and silicon carbide. Thus the LED was born. Since publication of the report in the Telephony journal of Russia until 2007, the led discoverer had gone unnoticed. In just over six years, technology has helped to achieve 200 lumens per watt and get the major manufacturers to foresee the end of other efficient technologies’ manufacturing.
The municipalities are mobilized
The day ” Keys to Success of efficient lighting in municipalities ” organized by ” El Molar Impulsa ” and the association ANILED recently took place in the Madrid town of El Molar. On that day the technical advantages of LED and the technical regulations that such type of products have to undergo to offer the facilities an absolute quality assurance were presented to the municipal representatives. Fernando Ibáñez, President of the Spanish Committee of Illuminationexplained the details of the regulatory review for light fittings with LED technology for outdoor lighting, because unfortunately the RD1890/2008 on energy efficiency in outdoor lighting does not address the LED technology.
It is of utmost importance that the technologies that will help municipalities to meet the EU target of 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 be completely safe and effective. To this purpose, public- private commitment and collaboration are key elements.
The average points of light per capita in Spain are 0.11 with a consumption of 110 Kw /h per year and inhabitant. Although we are below the European average in number of points of light, we are 30% above in installed power, with street lighting being responsible for over 60% of the total cost of electricity in a municipality. The total cost of public lighting in 2012 was about 830 million euro. With such data in mind it is only natural that municipal officials be concerned and envision the LED technology among the indispensable elements for their energy savings.
To adjust to the actual lighting needs and to decide a plan of action aligned to the financial possibilities is the first step to undertake a good installation. The second will be whether we choose to proceed on our own, taking the risk of funding, or appointing an Energy Service Company that will both provide financing as well as installation and maintenance. In either case, the savings will be very interesting.
90 million points of light
Out of the 90 million points of light installed in Spain, 75 % have more than 25 years. No doubt the business opportunity is excellent, but we find the brake of the municipal technicians distrust. Winning the battle against such mistrust through information will rely on public-private partnerships and the media communication role.
The presentation of SmartLighting took precisely place at the seminar held in El Molar. SmartLighting is an information portal on energy-efficient lighting that pursues the goal of being a benchmark in the sector and a link between manufacturers, distributors, installers, municipalities, research institutes, universities, …
The accurate and proven technical information, the views of the industry, and dissemination of the various lighting technologies will be the day to day of this new media.