Echoing Europe, Councils Across Australia Are Moving Towards Energy Efficient Street Lighting

In North America and Europe, the switch to more energy efficient streetlighting using LEDs is well under way. In Australia, street lighting is perceived as the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from local government, typically accounting for 30 to 60 percent of emissions. With electricity and carbon costs posing a huge challenge and street lighting in particular costing at least $400 million per year, local governments throughout Australia are also turning towards energy efficient street lighting such as LEDs to replace old inefficient and expensive technology. From a financial perspective, switching to LED street lighting is expected to save Australia’s local councils up to $87 million and prevent 720,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere each year, according to the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA).

Even though councils have had a wide variety of lighting forms to choose from, LED has emerged as the favourite. Having a lifespan of 20 years, LEDs are seen as the lighting technology of the future providing better direct lighting, low glare and reduced maintenance costs. Not only will LEDs spark a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gases as well as energy and maintenance costs, they are also expected to play a role in improving safety outcomes for drivers and pedestrians.

Throughout Australia, there is somewhat of an energy efficiency revolution occurring with over 60 Australian councils including Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart currently in the roll-out process or having completed bulk lighting retrofits. In early April 2015, the 200,000th energy efficient street light was changed over to LEDs. A case in point is the ‘Lighting the Regions Project’, a collaboration between 16 local government bodies across North, West and Central Victoria and two leading sustainability alliances to create the largest street lighting partnership project in Australia. Through education and engagement with regional people, this project aims to create more energy efficient and sustainable communities and is expected to pull together the expertise, resourcing and financial resources required to take energy efficiency to the next level.

The Lighting the Regions is just one such example of the energy efficient street lighting revolution that is happening across Australia. There are similar projects being undertaken across the other states with the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils’ (SSROC) Street Lighting Improvement Program in NSW, the Ipswich Street Lighting Retrofit Project in QLD, the Hobart and Glenorchy Street Lighting Replacement Project in Tasmania, to name a few.

Find out more on the progress of these street lighting projects in addition to other interesting topics covering lighting design for precincts, recreational facilities and much more at the Australian Smart Lighting Summit to be held on the 8 & 9th September at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The national event endorsed by the City of Melbourne draws over 150 lighting industry experts who will discuss strategies and new technologies for public lighting retrofits aimed at reducing energy consumption and costs. The Summit has established itself as the leading lighting event in the region focusing on street, urban and public lighting. The 2014 Summit witnessed the participation of over 40 councils from all over Australia committed to the deployment of innovative, intelligent and energy-efficient lighting initiatives throughout the country.

Ian Dryden from the City of Melbourne said “The Smart Lighting Summit’s been fantastic. I’ve been really impressed with the fact that we’ve ended up with so many people, and a really diverse range of people, and I find with these things that you learn so much from the actual audience.”

The summit was excellent. I particularly like that we had lighting manufacturers; people installing large-scale lighting; lots of questions from the floor and a fair bit of interaction. It’s really important to get different views with different ideas about how things should run or what the right types of technology are. This is the first of these events we’ve had in Australia. Sponsors have come on board, manufacturers, councils, there’s been a great response and if it was to run again we’d love to be involved.” commented Paul Brown from Ironbark Sustainability

For more information on the 3rd Annual Australian Smart Lighting Summit, please visit

By Julie Allen

30 May