Street Lights are being replaced from conventional technologies and converted into new LED solutions. This is not a new story but we at Afterglow are getting more information saying that the change to LED causes problems for people living nearby the newly installed LED Street Lights.

The most common reasons for inefficient street lighting in India are-

1) Selection of inefficient luminaries

There is tremendous potential to improve lighting quality and operation and maintenance (O&M) practices while reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions-through energy-efficient retrofits (NYSERDA 2002). We at afterglow believe that the efficiency of lighting system can also be significantly improved by selecting appropriate optics for the luminaries as well as ensuring proper design parameters, like mounting height, overhang, tilt angle etc. during installation of light sources.

2) Stocking problem (due to lack of storage space and poor storage conditions)

One of the keys to good organization is good lighting. Put some in, and let us know how much better the place looks. If you don’t like the way it looks, use the light to organize it and make it into the useable storage area you’ve always wanted.

3) Poor design and installation

Sometimes streetlights are poorly designed or installed incorrectly and end up shining lights onto your property or your home. This is known as light trespass – light that falls where it’s not intended, wanted, or needed.

4) Poor power quality

The efficiency of the light bulb can be measured by how much light the bulb emits as a function of the power it consumes. This may seem simple and straightforward, but several caveats apply to how the bulb emits light and to its power consumption. The emitted light should be in a range of wavelengths that the human eye can see. Light emitted in the infrared range would be of no use for conventional illumination.

The AC voltage and current with a 60-W GE soft light incandescent lamp is in phase with minimal distortion and almost no reactive power.

First a few basics. The common measure of light strength or intensity is lumens. The power a light bulb consumes should be divided into two parts, power and harmonics. The power is a function of the real power in watts, the total power in volt-amperes and the reactive (imaginary) power in volt-amperes reactive. Power factor is a ratio of the power used to do work, typically in kilowatts, divided by the total power in kilovolt-amperes. The power utility must generate, transmit, and transform the total power. The customer usually only gets billed for kilowatts used over a period of time measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

5) Poor operation and maintenance practices

Poor maintenance of street lights is another problem faced by most citizens, leaving large areas without adequate lighting. The municipalities are hard pressed for funds and it is the citizens who have to fac see the brunt.

In most cities, the street lights are installed and maintained by municipalities. Most urban and semi-urban cities and towns are still using a combination of fluorescent, CFL, high pressure sodium lamps or metal halide bulbs, which are not designed to meet area-wise lighting needs. Very little study or planning has gone into the illuminance required in different areas of streets, to address the needs of pedestrians and vehicular traffic alike. For instance, the lighting needs of vehicular traffic in high speed zones are different from low-speed high traffic zones. Likewise, lighting needs in road crossings are different from secondary roads. Then again, the lighting requirements of an area with vehicular traffic will vary from that of an area with high pedestrian traffic.

A one-size-fits-all approach to street lighting results in inefficient deployment of power resources and ends up in wasteful use of electricity that could have been better utilized elsewhere.

Also, there are some emergency conditions for inefficient street lighting in India –

Examples of urgent or emergency issues include

Missing panels expose wiring, burning or smoking light, hanging light covers, lamp posts damaged by a road traffic accident or anything liable to cause harm or damage to a person or property.

Planning of A Streetlight

Street light planning is not just about luminosity but also the ‘height’ of the lighting mast, which in turn varies based on the requirements of that particular area. Due to a lack of ‘area-wise’ study, standard tenders are issued on a ‘city-wise’ basis, leading to high operational cost incurred on street lighting. Very often, one notices that the street lights stay on well past sunrise. This is because the lights are switched off based on a predecided time rather than lighting needs, which vary based on season and location of the city. There is a need for devising a well thought out way to prevent wastage of electricity. Perhaps, the government can think of implementing Automatic Street Light Control System using LDR (Light Dependent Resistor), which automatically switches off lights when sunlight fall on it.

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