City Planners Visit Denmarks Smart City

On September 18th, DOLL—the Danish Outdoor Lighting Laboratory— had their official international opening of the DOLL Living Lab in Albertslund, Copenhagen. This was held during the LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International) ‘City under Microscope‘ event.
Apart from functioning as a visitor and control centre, the new facility will serve as an independent laboratory to ensure that manufacturers, researchers and designers can have the effects of their LED lights appropriately tested and documented. A total of 280 LED lights lining 10 km of roads and paths have been installed making it the biggest lab in Europe.

Tunnel Lighting Tour Photo: Gate 21

Tunnel Lighting Tour
Photo: Gate 21

Manufacturers and researchers have the opportunity to apply research and development ideas in a natural urban environment. This can provide new knowledge about the experience of the light or how technologies developed in the lab perform in real life. The lab will also test solutions such as CO2-free street lights using wind and solar energy, new sensors for controlling the amount of lighting in order to save energy, street lights with built-in Wi-Fi, and other innovative solutions designed to make cities smarter. This combination is unique and promises to attract city planners from around the world who can see LED streetlighting installed in a real urban environment.

”Even though we previously have seen living labs with a focus on lighting, the combination of the amount of involved companies, the research‐based documentation, the scale of the laboratory and the variety of the technologies is unique,” says Kent Larson, Director of the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Larson is one of the first to develop “living lab” experiments in the context of everyday environments.

Ambitious Targets

Within the next 1½ years Copenhagen will change 20,000 light points and over 65 % of the urban lighting will use LED technology. By 2016, the technology change will reduce the total electricity consumption for urban lighting by 57%. The lighting master plan for the 20,000 fixture renewal project reflects the City’s ambition to create consistency in the lighting and also create local atmospheres within city districts.
This renewal project is part of Copenhagen’s ambition to be a CO2 neutral city by 2025 and becoming the first CO2 neutral capital of the world. At the same time Copenhagen has a great focus on improving quality of life, innovation and creating new jobs and investments.

What is a Smart City?

A Smart City manages and distributes its resources optimally based on knowledge. The city collects data and information about climate, temperature, air quality, noise, weather conditions and UV radiation to see what sort of environment the lights are operating in and the street conditions. The city has knowledge of the citizens’ behavioural patterns and needs such as peak times for cycling or walking. The city knows its infrastructure, capacities and bottlenecks for traffic, supply and service. By analysing information and data, peak loads and unnecessary consumption can be identified, allowing the municipalities to manage and design the cities’ resources dynamically to the benefit of citizens and companies.  For example, lighting in an industrial estate can be turned down or off after all of the companies have closed for the evening but can be programmed to turn on when motion is detected, thus acting as a security deterrent and facilitating after-hours access.
By taking one step further towards ‘Smart City Lighting Management Systems,’ municipalities can achieve additional savings on lighting by decreasing the power consumption. This can create the basis for an integrated information and management system, which can optimise the utilisation of the city’s resources, benefitting the environment and citizens, as well as innovation in new and existing companies.

You can view updates to the project and the promotional video here.

DOLL is run under the partnership organization Gate 21 in collaboration with DTU (Technical University of Denmark) Fotonik and the Municipality of Albertslund, and receives funding from GreenLabs DK under the Danish Energy Agency, Capital Denmark Growth Forum, and Region Zealand.

By Julie Allen

20 Sep