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Local councils in Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth have converted over 200,000 street lights to smart lighting technology as part of a renewed transition towards greater sustainability and energy efficiency. Melbourne will also replace 14,000 lights with LED technology over the next five years to enhance maintenance and energy ratings.

Speaking at the 3rd Annual Australian Smart Lighting Summit 2015 held recently at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Ian Dryden, Team Leader of Industrial Design at City of Melbourne observed that smart lighting was all about low energy, given its ability to communicate with itself as well as turn on and off with the flick of a switch.

More than 50 local councils participated in the summit to share ideas and discuss the implementation of smart lighting solutions. Presentations were also made by the councils and lighting designers on street and urban lighting projects currently taking place across the country.

Victorian councils have remained at the forefront of smart lighting installations with several programs being initiated for greater energy efficiency. The Lighting the Regions project, for instance, aims to replace more than 23,000 street lights in collaboration with 16 local councils over north, west and central Victoria. This lighting project is expected to save local councils $57 million over the next 20 years.

The Great South Coast Street Smart Lighting program will convert up to 7,500 street lights with energy-efficient LED lighting across south-west Victoria. These initiatives have been partially funded under the Federal Government’s Community Energy Efficiency program.

George Angelis, Head of City Infrastructure and Traffic Operations at City of Sydney, helped facilitate the rollout of LED street lighting in Sydney where more than 5,753 street and park lights were installed in 2012. Since the installation, the city has reduced its energy use by more than 46%, contributing towards the targeted 70% reduction in carbon emissions to be achieved by 2030.

Smart lighting technology delivers several advantages including significant energy efficiency as well as the ability to track lighting networks in real-time, providing instant feedback to operators who will know the exact time and location of an outage in the system.

Dryden, however, believes Australia has a long way to go when it comes to the adoption and implementation of smart lighting technology, especially in comparison with Los Angeles or New York, which are miles ahead in terms of the take-up of smart technology.

Yearly LED lighting sales are expected to increase to $300 billion by 2020, providing a future market for Australian industry within the realm of the manufacturing, development and consultation of smart lighting technology.