The first council to benefit from Green Investment Bank (GIB) funding for streetlights is Glasgow, which is about to embark on the second phase of a major upgrade, in an effort to modernise its infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions.
1000 of Glasgow’s streetlights made the switch to LED in a pilot scheme in 2012, and now the city is preparing to upgrade 10,000 more, which are currently a mix of SON, SOX, fluorescent and metal halide. The project is expected to knock about six per cent off Glasgow’s £25 million electricity bill, with no upfront cost.
Brian Devlin, Executive Director of land and environmental services at Glasgow City Council, said:
“Why would you not do this? If I’m asked to make a saving, I want to make a saving around supply chain and energy rather than going and reducing schools, social work, front-line service. That’s what’s driving this.”
The GIB says that the UK should aim to convert all its streetlights to LED by 2020 in order to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.
The bank, which is owned by owned by the taxpayer, is providing millions of pounds of funding for LED streetlighting projects, allowing local authorities to pay back the cost from the savings they make on their electricity bills.
At an event hosted by the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on lighting, the Green Investment Bank’s energy efficiency manager Gregor Paterson-Jones said:
“LED streetlighting is currently less than 10 per cent deployed in the UK. The target should be 100 per cent adoption by 2020. The challenge has been, while the technology is proven and the savings are fairly well understood, you need capital to do this.”
The bank believes the country could save £200 million in energy costs by converting its seven million streetlights to LED.