Road and street lighting place heavy demands on the public road budget. Recent studies in Norway indicates that the daily costs represent about 20-40 % of the total budget, half of this figure covers the energy costs and the other half goes to running and maintenance.
It’s important that the road keeper has control and awareness of the costs. It’s being observed that some road keepers try to reduce their costs by transferring the responsibility to private road keepers and community associations. A complicating factor with such a solution, is that many of these installations are constructed and integrated with the main supply grid. It can therefore be the case that one installation contains several customers. For instance in Norway, the Public Road Authority, (“Statens Vegvesen”) is the road keeper in all of the municipalities.
Road lighting guidelines
By writing such guidelines for the diversion of responsibility gives better control for your costs.
When introducing guidelines you should also consider making the establishment of road lighting an obligated part of the allowance for constructing roads in the municipality.
The guideline can describe the correct work method for securing quality and these should follow the municipalities’ general regulations of road construction. This paper will then represent a minimum demand for (private) initiated installations to be connected to the public grid.
The guideline should consider the following subjects:
- Description of public measures. Where the municipality has made a political or administrative decision for the initiator to include road lighting as an obligated and included cost for the road construction, the cost for new establishment will be transferred to the initiator.
- The quality standards for luminaires and technical equipment must be described (see notes)
- The municipality should define the desired level of lighting on the road in accordance with international and national regulations with recommendations and set limits for the use of energy related to defined luminaires.
- Considerations of light pollution issues should be described
- Describe which parameters should dictate when to switch on/off the luminaires and under which conditions the installation should operate at dimmed levels.
- Where in the existing grid system it should derive power. For installations with two way communication, describe the requirements for the communication equipment and define the protocols for communication to the administrative system.
- Specifications of correct integration points for energy measurements. (How will the energy consumption of the installation be measured?).
With the rapid development of luminaries and lighting control gear it is of great importance to keep the guidelines”up to date”.
Accomplishing public demands
To comply with the regulations concerning the removal of hazardous PCB from lighting installations, it is especially important to emphasize to the responsible authorities the energy saving potential that can be achieved by upgrading the technology of their installations.
New installations have to comply with today’s regulations for lighting levels, electrical installation regulations and environmental demands. The proposed EU “ECO-directive” also sets demands for the “lifecycle analysis”, lead and mercury free installations and a ban against ineffective electro-mechanically control gear. Let your new lighting installation be a class A installation!
By implementing these changes you prepare for future European recommendations and regulations concerning the environment and the energy reduction.
The calculation of return on Investment is important to identify today’s energy cost, including the cost of both electrical power consumption and of energy used. Furthermore a lifecycle calculation will have to consider the future changes in cost. The calculations will use the “present value method” with discounted cash flow or by the use of continuous cash flow analysis. For the calculation of financial costs or of financial payback, the public rate of calculation should be utilized.
By utilizing new types of luminaires and control gear you can prolong lifetime values so that the annual maintenance costs is reduced.
In total one could say that by reinvesting in new technology and planning according to today’s lighting level demands, the road keeper will achieve a payback on invested capital within a time period of 4-6 years depending on the initial situation; energy price level, and the level of maintenance costs involved. (Whatever the situation this is a short payback time compared with other safety improvement measures.)