Outdoor Lighting Lab Allows Cities to Preview LED Street Lamps

Valerie Eacret for Zondits, October 15, 2014

The city of Alberstlund, Denmark, is both promoting energy efficiency and turning around their economy with one novel idea: an outdoor LED lab, which doubles as streetlights for an industrial park.

The lighting lab is complete with a quality test center to verify manufacturers’ claims; a virtual lab, which allows lighting manufacturers and their customers to test potential solutions in different environments; and, of course, the living lab, in which small and large companies alike can showcase their products in an urban setting. Aside from increasing the adoption of energy efficient products, Alberstlund hopes to make the city become a business destination and a magnet for new job opportunities and lighting researchers.

Streetlight installation is of course more involved than screwing a bulb into a lamp in your house, which is part of the reason cities are understandably more hesitant to install the newest LED technology in their streetlights. This lab is hoping that watching some of the more complex technologies in action can be the convincing factor that decision makers need to have confidence that the lights will work as desired. For example, some of the new streetlights will default to a partially lit setting, brighten as a runner passes by, and then dim again after she has moved on.

The city has already attracted business within Denmark and just hosted the Lighting Urban Community International’s City Under Microscope conference, helping to spread energy efficient solutions locally as well as globally.


An Urban Lab Helps Cities Switching to LED to See the Light

City Lab, September 11, 2014

If you’ve ever bought a compact fluorescent light bulb, or one of the newer LEDs, you may have been surprised to find their light brighter or cooler or yellower or bluer than you may be accustomed to in, say, your kitchen.

The same is true with street lighting for cities—only the choices are much more complicated. There are dozens of lighting vendors to choose from, all touting innovations in technology and energy efficiency. Trees or the texture of nearby buildings can affect urban lighting quality in unpredictable ways. And increasingly, street lighting choices are becoming intertwined with the promising if dizzying array of “smart city” technologies that aim to manage traffic, wastewater and other urban headaches.

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