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UK council smart lighting pilot monitors air quality and footfall

South Kesteven District Council hopes to realise energy-savings of at least 60 per cent and the pilot could be expanded across the streetlighting network.

Motion-detection is used to control the dimming of the LED lights
Motion-detection is used to control the dimming of the LED lights

The UK district council of South Kesteven in Lincolnshire has completed a smart lighting pilot which deployed IoT technology to reduce energy consumption and support its goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 per cent before 2030.


South Kesteven District Council completed the trial in February and is now analysing the results but it expects to deliver energy savings of at least 60 per cent. If judged a success, it could lead to the council rolling out the smart streetlighting across its network, totalling 3,600 lights.


Delivery partners


Scottish technology company arbnco was selected as the delivery partner to provide the LED streetlighting and IoT technology that was used to monitor air quality and footfall in the community. It worked on the pilot with SSE Enterprise Contracting and its subsidiary company Mayflower Smart Control. A central management system (CMS) was installed to assist with maintenance and data reporting.


By analysing the data that is fed from the streetlights into the CMS, arbnco will also be able to determine the length of the payback period for the council, at which point the cost of installation would be covered by the resulting energy savings made.


The project forms part of the IoT for Local Authorities programme run by Digital Catapult, the UK’s digital technology innovation centre. It aims to help local authorities harness the potential of IoT by collaborating with start-up and scale-up technology companies.


Twelve streetlight heads were installed for the pilot, which collected data on their surroundings: four on a public footpath in Grantham; four at Stamford bus station; and four at Cattle Market car park in Stamford. They are fully integrated with smart technology, offering sensor control and dimming, with some of the lights also providing air quality and video monitoring. The data collected was streamed in real-time to a control dashboard via the cloud.


The LED chips used in the light heads are more durable and efficient than the existing metal halide lamps across the district and arbnco said that this is where the predicted 60 per cent reduction in energy cost for the council would come from. They are also able to simulate natural daylight with a colour rendering index (CRI) of 95, which arbnco claims will bring a new level of safety to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.


“IoT technology is playing an increasingly important role in local government, and offers the opportunity to remotely control and monitor the condition of equipment, and make the best use of resources.”


All twelve streetlights are fitted with timing and dimming controls to reduce their energy consumption through the night. The lights along the footpath also have a built-in camera, allowing the dimming to be controlled via motion-detection. At night, these lights will be reduced from 70W to 5W to reduce wastage and will brighten again when they detect movement. The video monitoring also enables the Council to monitor footfall and direction of travel along the path.


In addition to the enhanced controls, the lights at the bus station are also fitted with sensors to monitor air quality, helping the council to reduce pollution levels. Sensors on the lights will monitor temperature, humidity and pressure, as well as compounds that can be particularly harmful to humans, such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter.


“We are continually looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and save money and this is a great example of using the latest technologies to do both,” said South Kesteven Councillor Dr Peter Moseley, cabinet member for commercial and operations.


He continued: “IoT technology is playing an increasingly important role in local government, and offers the opportunity to remotely control and monitor the condition of equipment, and make the best use of resources.”


Competitive pitch


Arbnco won the pilot contract after a competitive process which saw 13 organisations pitch.


“Today, IoT technology enables us to develop much more intelligent networks, which bring significant benefits for local authorities,” said Simon West, co-founder and chief operating officer at arbnco.


“This project is going to generate substantial energy-savings, help to reduce night-time crime by ensuring the community is as well-lit as it can be, and enable the council to monitor air quality, one of the biggest public health crises of our times.


“We’re looking forward to providing the council with actionable insights, through gathering data that was previously inaccessible to them.”


arbnco’s smart lighting technology will also be installed in Digital Catapult’s headquarters in London. It will be on display in the Catapult’s Future Networks Lab which showcases IoT technology, alongside international technology companies such as Siemens and IBM.


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