Smart lighting system to cut Council energy costs

Launching the smart lighting project were: Michael Tierney, Cllr. Marie Murphy, Cathaoirleach Tipperary County Council, Marion O’Neill, Cllr. Seamus Hanafin, Cathaoirleach Thurles Municipal District, Liam Brett and Marcus O’Connor Tipperary County Council. Photo: Colin Kenny

Tipperary County Council is to upgrade lighting as part of a €5.7 million European project.

Thurles, Drangan and Clonoulty, have been chosen as pilots for this smart lighting project, along with locations in the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

Just over half a million Euro will be spent on these smart lights in Tipperary and the aim is to increase energy efficiency and save money in the long run.

Senior Engineer for Roads and Transportation, Liam Brett told Tipp FM News that the lights are expensive, but will bring big savings.

“They are a significant spend, absolutely, but there are significant savings, we know that by installing these lights that we’ll save about 60% of the energy usage.

“Hopefully with the platform and by learning how to use this new technology and partnering with these other municipalities across Europe, we’ll learn how to drive further efficiency from that 60%.

“We know we will save significant money on energy every year, probably in the order of about €40,000 a year with these lights, so there are significant savings in the public purse.”

The lights will also help Tipperary County Council towards achieving their climate target.

Public lighting in Tipperary represents 38% of the council’s entire energy usage, so it’s hoped that these lights will make a big difference in energy efficiency.

The project is costing €5.7 million, with €3.4million funded through the European Regional Development Fund, while Tipperary’s spend represents about half a million and 60% of this is funded by the European funding.

Tipperary County Council has been working with Tipperary Energy Agency and our EU project partners on this smart LED lighting pilot initiative which will be one of the largest installations of smart lights of any county council in Ireland. 40% of the associated costs are being funded by Tipperary County Council with the remaining 60% being funded by Interreg North West Europe (EU). SSE Airtricity Utility Solutions were awarded the contract following the tender process and they have commenced the installation of the Smart Lights.

Michael Tierney, Tipperary County Council, Executive Engineer, said:

“These smart street lights give Tipperary County Council better control over how we manage our street lights. Initially in some areas we will pilot interactive lighting where we will have the technology to dim down lighting where there is no public movement detected and light up an area once the system detects pedestrians or cars approaching. In areas like car parks where there is no movement from midnight to 7a.m., energy use could potentially be reduced by 80%.

“These lights can notify the Council of a fault and give more accurate information on power usage. In other areas such as Liberty Square, Thurles, we plan to pilot a different type of smart light where the light colours can even be changed through an app for special events like St. Patrick’s Day.”

Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Cllr. Marie Murphy said:

“This pilot scheme, in cooperation with our European partners, shows what can be achieved when we work together for the good of our communities. It has never been so important to reduce energy consumption as it is now in the context of climate change. Tipperary County Council can be a leader and show the way in this important endeavour.”

Siona Daly, Acting CEO of Tipperary Energy Agency said: “We expect to see annual energy savings of approximately 150,000kWh, which is the equivalent electricity required to power nineteen homes in a year.

“Furthermore, if this SMART-SPACE lighting project proves to be a success in Tipperary, it could impact national policy and decision making on public lighting which could be invaluable as the National Public Lighting Retrofit Project starts to gain traction.”