Members’ Corner – Completely turning off public lighting does not make sense from an energy or environment perspective!

The energy crisis we are experiencing calls for a policy of “energy sobriety” (or “energy sufficiency”). Local authorities can start with the simplest areas of energy savings, such as accelerating the rate of renovation of public lighting which still represents the second largest source of energy consumption for municipalities, after buildings.

To raise awareness among elected officials, our French member SERCE has produced a video reminding them that renovating public lighting is not only an economic priority, but also a social and environmental one.

In the current context, some municipalities are deciding to switch off public lighting at a certain time to reduce their energy bills.

Although switching off all lighting in the middle of the night immediately saves money, it does not solve the problem of the obsolescent state of lighting installations, which still consume a lot of energy, and does not contribute to alleviate the peak of consumption in the early evening! It is detrimental to the feeling of safety and comfort of the inhabitants, while the mayors, as part of their policing power, must continue to ensure the safety of their constituents’ movements in public spaces.

Renovating public lighting to rapidly optimise a municipality’s energy consumption

SERCE warns of the urgent need to implement a genuine policy of renovating public lighting, by switching to LEDs and automating installations (through remote management systems, presence detection, etc.) to adapt the level of lighting at night.

Numerous examples of renovations show that LED lighting can reduce electricity consumption by 50% to 80% and immediately reduce the operating budget. This more adjustable technology can also be dimmed to reduce the impact of lighting on biodiversity.

Investing in retrofitting can therefore reduce energy consumption, with a quick return on investment, often less than 5 or 6 years. Renovation can also be accompanied by modernisation of the lighting stock and offers new services to citizens and communities (video protection, public address systems, parking management, recharging stations, etc.).

SERCE’s member companies are ready to take up the challenge. Their expertise with technical solutions and their proximity to local authorities enable them to support them and to design, build, operate and maintain appropriate lighting over time. They are particularly involved in the Marchés Globaux de Performance, a type of public contract under French law.

“Given the current returns on investment, local authorities have real opportunities to act in favour of biodiversity and to address the energy crisis. SERCE’s member companies are able to offer all the technical solutions that combine drastic reductions in energy consumption for public lighting, personal safety and environmental protection. They can also assist local authorities in identifying the financing solutions that are beginning to emerge and in preparing applications.

The video was designed with the members of the SERCE Committees for “Public lighting & connected equipment” and “Environment” and has two purposes. On the one hand, it is intended to encourage companies and their project managers to be even more educational in the solutions they offer. On the other hand, we hope to make our clients and contracting authorities more aware of the interest and necessity of renovating their public lighting as early as possible.” Frédéric Galloo – President of the SERCE Committee for “Public lighting & connected equipment”

“Our surrounding nature amazes us with its explosion of colours and scents… Birds singing in the morning, butterflies in the parks make our days more pleasant and lively. It is this richness of our biodiversity and complex eco-systems that make our cities livelier and, therefore, more liveable. Even if most communities have already integrated this reflection, actions in favour of nocturnal biodiversity do not always follow. Should we advocate for a true “ecosystem-based urbanism”?

Before this final step, which should lead us to think of urban planning in terms of ecosystems, we must design public lighting projects not only by responding to the uses and concerns of local residents but also, in return, by taking care of this nature and organising the city for all living things, human and non-human.

SERCE companies support local authorities in their reflections on how to take better account of nocturnal species in the planning and management strategies of their territory. In addition to energy savings, even if the time has come for sobriety, the health of local residents can be addressed, and biodiversity preserved.” – Romuald Peton, President of the SERCE Committee for “Environment”

You can access the SERCE video here and an information card for decision makers here.