Light Environment Control: Innovation in energy efficient lighting systems

Investment in a new research and development centre has helped a company from Andalucía develop innovative new lighting system products and given a boost to the local economy.

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LEC’s innovative lighting systems have both cost and environmental benefits. LEC’s innovative lighting systems have both cost and environmental benefits.

Barbate, located in Cádiz in southern Andalucía, is one of the municipalities most severely afflicted by unemployment in Spain. With an economy based on fisheries and tourism, Barbate is going through one of the most difficult periods it has ever experienced.

However, since 2009 the town has played host to one of the most significant business initiatives in Andalucía, Light Environment Control SL (LEC), a company which, with the support of EU funds, has triggered considerable improvement in the damaged local economy. Specifically, 82 direct jobs have been created, the majority of them for highly specialised engineers, and this is also helping to retain the talents of Andalusians who, without this project, would not be able to develop their careers in Spain.

Research and development

LEC was established in 2009 following four years of research into the development of a more efficient and less expensive lighting system. Public administrations and businesses recognise that lighting is one of their highest fixed costs. 

In 2007 during its research phase, LEC illuminated the first European city with remotely controlled LED technology. The positive response from administrations and businesses encouraged them to go further and to research, design and manufacture their own lights.

In 2009 construction began of an R&D+i (research, development and innovation) and LED technology production centre. The 6 500 m2 building houses a machining centre, electronics ‘clean room’, a painting area, a luminosity labelling area and an assembly area.

Environmental benefits

LED lights significantly reduce energy consumption, and, consequently, spending; they are 100 % recyclable, and, in contrast to conventional lighting, do not contain any pollutants such as lead, cadmium or mercury. Furthermore, they produce no infra-red or ultra-violet rays and generate less heat, resulting in less energy wastage and reduced air conditioning consumption.

With its acquired expertise LEC has developed internal and external lighting solutions, as well as proprietary software StelUrban, to control street lighting. This adapts lighting to needs in real time, thus producing additional energy savings. The software is cloud-hosted, so that it is possible to access it from any mobile device. In addition, it features an alarm system that alerts users to possible unauthorised connections or consumption, or any other malfunction in the installation.

Control over the entire production process allows LEC to customise solutions tailored to customers’ needs. Thanks to its innovative lighting systems, the company has received the University of Seville’s Innovation Prize and the Andalucía Regional Council’s commendation in the category of innovation and scientific achievement.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Light Environment Control” amounted to EUR 10 295 256, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 1 647 241 from the “Andalucía” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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