Cyprus Mail

Highway lights going LED, saving energy and money

File photo

By Annette Chrysostomou

The department of electrical and mechanical services plans to change all conventional lights on highways with modern Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting.

“This move means great energy savings and will contribute to making roads safer”, the director of the department Loucas Timotheou said.

He said it would reduce electricity consumption by 40 per cent, a considerable saving as the current energy consumption and maintenance costs of electric lighting comes to millions per year.

“The technical evaluation has been completed and we expect the tenders board decision on opening the financial bids. We expect to get the green light tomorrow”, Timotheou told the Cyprus Mail.

According to Timotheou, the new lighting system will be in operation by January 2016 on the Nicosia-Larnaca highway up to Ayia Napa, excluding the area of the GSP stadium and from Nicosia to the Yermasogeia roundabout near Limassol.

The project currently covers only the motorways under the jurisdiction of the government, but the documents will be available to municipalities and communities so that they can make their own provisions.

Regarding the Limassol-Paphos motorway from Parekklisia until the roundabout at the entrance of Paphos (excluding the tunnel which has special lighting), there will be a different arrangement which is based on the one currently used in Germany.

This is a pilot project where the contractor will use the energy savings to finance the scheme and also give part of the savings to the government. If this works as expected, the department of electrical and mechanical services is going to suggest it to the municipalities.

Timotheou pointed out that the current cost of the lighting for this stretch of the motorway is around €800.000 per year, and a 35 per cent savings is expected.

The share of electricity consumed for lighting is 19 per cent globally and 14 per cent in the European Union. In Europe incandescent bulbs are being phased out and must be replaced by new, energy efficient and environmentally friendly lighting technologies.

The implementation of the new LED technology will save not only energy but also money as their life span is much longer, reducing street lighting maintenance costs by 50 to 70 per cent. In addition, LED lights provide a clearer vision for motorists, especially in bad weather conditions. At the same time, incandescent lights attract night-migrating birds more than LED lights. The reduced direct and reflected up-light also means a reduction in urban sky glow.

The initial cost is considerable, but as current electricity and maintenance costs are high, it is expected to pay off soon. Moreover, EU directives request a reduction in energy consumption, and this will be a big step ahead for Cyprus.

The European Union is also concerned with the safety of migrating birds, and this would be a chance for Cyprus to improve its environmental record.

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