Laois County Council currently operates and maintains approximately 8,500 public lights. The lights are a mix of old technology SOX, SON, fluorescent, and newer LED lights. Newer LED lights are more energy efficient, cheaper to run, and have a much longer bulb lifespan. The local authority’s current policy is to install LED bulbs for all new installations. There is also a request for the planning departments to include a condition to require LED lights to be used in all developments that will likely lead to an eventual takeover by Laois County Council. However, there has been no upgrade of public lighting in the local authority in the last 20 years. The current stock includes 821 LED energy-efficient lights, which equates to 9% of stock on national roads, and which was funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The remaining 90% or 7,766 lights are very old and excessively costly to operate and maintain. Older SOX lanterns are almost obsolete at present and it is becoming very difficult to obtain fittings for this type of lantern. In any case, the price differentials between old and more modern fittings are substantial. The cost of a SOX bulb is €55 at present compared to a SON bulb at €10. These bulbs have a lifespan of 2.5 years compared to LED lanterns of up to 15 years. There was therefore a compelling case for implementing a public lighting replacement programme to maximise the opportunity to secure substantial energy efficiencies and savings in both energy and maintenance costs by upgrading all lights to LED.
Upgrading the lights to LED will result in significant energy savings. Many of the lanterns are old and need to be replaced in any event. It therefore makes sense to renew outdated stock with more energy efficient lanterns given that older SOX lanterns are becoming obsolete and are costly to run.
The longer the replacement is delayed, the costlier parts for these effectively obsolete lanterns will become.
Benefits of solution
Switching public lights to LED bulbs will result in an estimated CO2 saving of 467 tonnes annually.
The estimated energy cost reduction of using LED bulbs is €230,000 per year.