The drastic rise in energy costs is forcing not only private households to save, but also local authorities. Now, the first cities are planning savings in street lighting.
High electricity price forces cities to save on street lighting
Alexander Handschuh of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities considers reduced street lighting to be one idea in the bundle of possible measures being discussed in many municipalities. The first cities have already decided to change the times for street lighting. One such city is Weimar in Thuringia. There, street lighting will be switched on 30 minutes later and off 30 minutes earlier from June 1. In doing so, the city hopes to save between 70,000 and 100,000 kilowatt hours. At the current price of electricity, this equates to a saving of 30,000 to 40,000 euros.
Pedestrian and bicycle paths affected
According to a spokeswoman, Halle in Saxony-Anhalt is also preparing for shorter duty cycles for street lighting. In Mainz, a further reduction in the lighting of footpaths and cycle paths is being discussed. There, lighting is already reduced by 50 percent between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for less-used pedestrian and bicycle paths. In Mainz, demand-oriented lighting is now being planned for the first time. The streetlights will only come on when pedestrians and cyclists are using the paths. This is to be ensured by solar lights with a corresponding sensor system.
In Mainz, LED technology has been used for street lighting since 2012. This would have achieved a high savings effect. In 2021 alone, the city will have saved 1.7 million kilowatt hours compared to 2012. By using LED technology, the city says it has saved 20 percent energy annually.
Sensor-controlled street lamps on trial
In Darmstadt, Hesse, there is already a completed section with special sensors on the high-speed cycle route from Frankfurt to Darmstadt: The lamps react to motion sensors. These make the light brighter when a cyclist or pedestrian passes by and dim again after a short time.
Street lighting accounts for 50 percent of electricity costs
According to a spokesman for the Hessian Ministry of Economics, street lighting alone accounts for up to 50 percent of municipalities’ electricity costs.
However, many large cities, such as Leipzig and Dresden, take a critical view of savings on street lamps. In Dresden, for example, they say: “A shorter lighting period is always at the expense of road safety. That is why the lights in Leipzig are only dimmed in the period between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.. During this period, the city saves 30 percent electricity with conventional lamps and up to 50 percent with LED lamps.
Citizens fear for their safety
In Hanover, Bremen and Oldenburg do not plan to shorten the lighting. According to a spokeswoman for the city of Oldenburg, citizens fear for their safety and would rather have longer switch-on times for street lighting.