Germany: Municipalities and communities begin cutting back on public lighting

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The increases in its prices energy insist. Another problem for local government in Germanywhere municipalities and communities are financed mainly by taxes and contributions of permanent residents and often face financial difficulties. Some municipalities are now starting to cut public lighting in an effort to cut spending. The lights come on a little later at night or go out a little earlier in the morning. In other cases, the light intensity is reduced.

“These reductions and cuts “It’s just one of the many ideas we are currently discussing in local government,” said Alexander Huntsu of Deutsche Welle, the German Association of Municipalities and Communities. The city of Weimar, for example, has decided to take action as early as June 1: during the summer, public lighting will be turned on thirty minutes later and off thirty minutes earlier.

For the winter months, the municipal authority wants to reduce the total lighting time by ten minutes per day. He estimates that this way, 70,000 to 100,000 kilowatt hours can be saved on an annual basis, which equates to an economic benefit of between 30,000 and 40,000 euros.

“We are preparing for similar measures”

In the city of Halle, in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, a representative of the municipal lighting company told the German News Agency (DPA) that “due to technical and organizational measures” these cuts are not yet necessary, but “we are preparing for similar measures.” A similar preparation is made in the city of Mainz, in the West German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It has already been decided to reduce the intensity of the lighting between one and five in the morning on sidewalks and bike paths that do not show much traffic. Now the municipal authority is examining whether it is technically possible to turn on the lighting only to order, ie when a pedestrian or cyclist really wants to cross this road.

Since 2012, the city of Mainz has been investing in LED technology for public lighting and claims that the results are visible. In 2021, say those in charge, this technology had saved 1.7 million kilowatt hours compared to 2012, ie the energy needs of the city were reduced by about 20%. The city of Darmstadt also tries to reduce the cost of lighting with modern technology. Special sensors have already been installed to turn on the lighting on the city’s bike lanes, as well as on a expressway connecting Darmstadt to Frankfurt. The sensors react to the movement and increase the intensity of the light as soon as a pedestrian or cyclist appears, while with the same automation the intensity decreases when the road remains empty.

Less security?

The financial benefit is undeniable. The Hesse Ministry of Finance estimates that public lighting can absorb up to 50% of the annual budget in a small town or community. On the other hand, of course, there is the issue of security. “When the duration of lighting is reduced, it always means that traffic is conducted less safely,” warns a representative of the municipal authority in Dresden. and clarifies that, despite rising energy prices, the capital of Saxony will not resort to this solution. The same is true in Leipzig. And there the public lighting will remain active for about eight hours a day, from ten in the evening until six in the morning. However, in both cities it has been decided to adjust the lighting intensity, according to the needs. In Leipzig they estimate that with this tactic they can save up to 30% of energy in conventional light bulbs or even 50% when using LED technology.

In large cities such as Hanover, Bremen and Oldenburg, sensors have already been installed for the automatic operation of public lighting, for example between ten in the evening and six in the morning in Bremen. Beyond that, there is no discussion of. Blackout due to cuts. “What the people are asking of us is probably the opposite,” said Kim Fredenberg-Fastye, a spokeswoman for the Oldenburg municipal authority. “In other words, they are asking for an extension of the operating time for the lamps…”

Source: News Beast


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