Energy-efficient street lighting in Graz area

The use of innovative environmental technologies to create energy-efficient lighting solutions has resulted in massive energy savings of 50-60 %. The project shows how by acting locally, we can contribute to resisting climate change while at the same time contributing to urban renewal and urban development.

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Before and after the new street lights were introduced. © needed (requested by journalist) Before and after the new street lights were introduced. © needed (requested by journalist)

" The project resulted in energy cost savings of about 65 % through the use of more efficient and economical LED lamps. It was the first use of dynamic LED lighting in an enclosed settlement or residential area, this meant that light pollution was reduced. "

Werner Zipper, Traffic Life Systems, City of Graz

The municipalities of Seiersberg, situated south-west of Graz, and the Graz districts of St. Peter, Liebenau, Straßgang and Puntigam have succeeded in reducing the energy costs of street lighting by approximately 50-60 % compared to previous consumption. This is as a result of using innovative LED technology in 1 400 lights in public spaces and roads across these areas. The project also piloted innovative control systems with presence detectors, which enable demand-driven energy consumption. This dynamic approach doesn’t just help reduce energy costs, it also reduces light pollution and is good for local biodiversity.

An important part of the project was inter-municipal collaboration from the planning stages through to the implementation of innovative LED light fixtures. Different illumination levels were given to different categories of roads (residential or main roads), with different control systems based on where the lights are. The pilot has allowed authorities to assess the true levels of efficiency and durability of the new lighting system. The results have been promoted widely and forms part of Graz’s wider municipal energy policy, as well as contributing to the region of Styria’s wider climate-protection ambitions. 

Improving energy efficiency

Lighting accounts for around 20 % of global energy consumption according to the International Energy Agency. Large energy savings can be made for the environment and public funds by increasing energy efficiency. The use of LED in street lighting is relatively new, even though the science behind it is actually well understood. The versatility of LED lights is also well known, allowing LEDs to be easily controlled and programmed. This project has been able to assess the exact requirements for street lighting and programme street lighting so that it produces the most dynamic and efficient response to public lighting needs. Nevertheless, until now, this technology has not been made full use of. Sodium lamps remain the standard, but LED technology is becoming cheaper and the energy savings are clear.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Inter-urban energy-efficient street lighting in the URBAN PLUS area” was EUR 652 730, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 306 000 from the Operational Programme “Regional Competitiveness Styria” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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