The EU GPP criteria for road lighting and traffic signals aim to address the key environmental impacts associated with the design, installation and operation of these systems. For road lighting, the criteria are broadly split into three parts: energy consumption, light pollution and durability aspects.
From an LCA perspective, the main environmental impact was found to be related to energy consumption during the use phase. This impact can be reduced in a number of ways, by using luminaire and light source combinations with a high luminous efficacy, by dimming during periods of low road use and by selection of the lowest necessary light class for roads to prevent unnecessary over-lighting in the first place.
Light pollution is another environmental impact of particular relevance to road lighting and traffic signals which is not well addressed by LCA methodologies. In order to reduce the potential for light pollution, EU GPP criteria are proposed based on upward and horizontal light output ratios. Furthermore, limits on Correlated Colour Temperature and blue light output are proposed in order to address concerns about annoyance and ecological light pollution respectively.
The durability of light sources and fittings is not only important to environmental impacts but also to life cycle cost. Consequently, the EU GPP criteria set requirements for minimum warranties, ingress protection, control gear failure rates and reparability - in order to ensure that lighting equipment in winning tenders is of sufficient quality and able to deliver a prolonged service life.
The implementation of these criteria should also help procurers understand better about aspects that should be considered in road lighting system design (e.g. maximum lighting level, dimming capability), the actual products they are procuring (requirements on provision of instructions and labelling), to keep accurate information about their infrastructure (requirement on asset labelling) and to monitor lighting system performance (requirements on metering and AECI).
Overall, a good understanding of road lighting and traffic signal systems and the use of suitable technical specifications in Invitations to Tender should help ensure that the twin benefits of lower environmental impacts and lower life cycle costs for public authorities can be obtained.