You may have noticed that Barrhaven looks at tad different a night. That’s because the city has started replacing its streetlights with newer, more energy efficient LED technology.
These new streetlights will reduce energy consumption by a whopping 60% (about 4 million dollars a year) while also reducing annual maintenance cost by 2 million dollars a year.
But there’s more to this story. These are smart lights – which means that they are all networked and can talk to each other. They can report their own failures to maintenance crews, and can also be individually dimmed from a central location. The city can even control the light temperature of each individual unit. The lights are also more directly focused on the roadways, but I find that they also offer broader coverage and better security lighting for our neighborhood.
The city currently has 71,700 streetlights, and they are all scheduled to be upgraded to LED technology by the end of 2020. Before conversion, street lighting consumed 17% of the total electricity bill for the city of Ottawa.
So what can we expect going forward? Maybe we’ll see the city use this smart technology to deliver 5G cell phone services. Unlike current 4G cell phone services, newer 5G services require line of sight for optimal connection reliability and speed. They also transmit over much smaller distances – which means you need many more antennas. Adding 5G communication services to streetlights could potentially open up new revenue streams for the city. This is only speculation, of course, but the possibilities are intriguing.
In the short term, our new street lighting will result in safer and greener neighborhoods while saving us money in the medium to long-term. Well done City of Ottawa!
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