Sydney’s LED switch for a brighter future

City of Sydney LED

Lights on for Sydney as it has become the first city in Australia to switch to energy-efficient LED lights. By Laura McLeod.

The City of Sydney has embarked on an exciting roll-out of new energy-efficient LED street and park lights. The installation of LED lights across the city centre sees it join other major cities such as Los Angeles, Barcelona and Berlin in the endeavour for a greener, more sustainable future.

Installation has begun on the first set of LED lights on George Street, in front of Sydney Town Hall. Following a successful 18 month trial in Alexandria Park, Kings Cross, Martin Place and Circular Quay, the LED roll-out is a $7 million, three year project.

In the public survey conducted after the trial, 90 per cent of people said the new lighting appealed, with three-quarters saying it improved visibility.

LED lights are made up of a semi-conductor material and consequently reduce emissions and halve energy use. “Replacing 6,450 conventional lights will save nearly $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs,” said City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

The LED lights require far less electricity and last much longer, reducing the 30 per cent contribution public lighting previously made to Sydney’s greenhouse gas emissions.  This is equivalent to 2861 tonnes or taking 940 cars off the road.

Sustainable Sydney plans

Sydney has positioned itself as Australia’s first carbon neutral city, and set out in the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Plan an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent, based on 2006 levels.

To achieve this target, the UK energy expert Allan Jones has been appointed to lead the project. His previous work reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the city of Woking, Surrey by 80 per cent.

Sydney will be transformed into a low carbon city powered by trigeneration systems and renewable energy. As well as electricity supply, trigeneration can also heat and cool buildings, and is three times more efficient than current systems.

Adding to the beauty of the plan is the capacity to add a decentralised water system and an automated waste collection process.

The plan stretches beyond council sites to household strategies and also includes supplying affordable housing to the residents of Sydney, in an environmentally sustainable way.

Sydney’s switch to LED lighting is a significant decision as Australia moves to a low carbon future. “Sydney’s leadership provides a clear signal to other Australian councils: LED technology is ready,” said Caroline Bayliss from the Climate Group.

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