Street lighting programme driving energy efficiency, reducing long-term costs

First phase of the M3 refurbishment project

Cape Town's programme to replace high intensity discharge (HID) lamps with light-emitting diode (LED) technology is lighting up the way for motorists and pedestrians.

The City of Cape Town’s drive to retrofit existing street lights along major roads and in neighbourhoods across the metro is progressing well, with about R22 million having been spent on this project in the previous financial year.
 
The programme to replace high intensity discharge (HID) lamps with light-emitting diode (LED) technology is lighting up the way for motorists and pedestrians with a characteristic white hue along roadways. 
 
The City has budgeted approximately R20 million in this new financial year to replace more HID lamps with LED lights. To date, some 820 km of roads have been retrofitted across the metro.
 
City investigations indicate that a saving of about 40% can be achieved compared with an HID fitting with the same light intensity.  
 
An HID lamp has a usable life expectancy of about four years. In comparison, an LED fitting can last for as long as 25 years. In theory, if an LED fitting is installed correctly and is not tampered with while in operation, it should not require maintenance for the full life of the fitting.
 
The first phase of the M3 refurbishment project (illustrated in the photograph) is a recent project that has been completed on a 1,5 km stretch of road between the Princess Anne and Woolsack off-ramps. This particular project has included the replacement of 82 lights at a cost of R952 656. Once the full scope of the project is completed, the full length of the M3 from Buitengracht Street to Klaassens Road will be lit with LED technology. The full extent of the refurbishment will be 13,5 km of lighting on both sides of the roadway.
 
This programme will see the roll-out of LED technology to major and minor roads within the areas being upgraded. The most recent areas where this programme was rolled out include Protea Park in Atlantis; Manenberg; the Gugulethu Phase 4 housing project; Lavender Hill; Bay View; Mandalay in Mitchells Plain; and Silvertown in Athlone. 
 
‘All of the City’s traffic lights and 15% of the street lights have been retrofitted with LEDs or energy-efficient bulbs. This is part of our efforts to become a more sustainable city and to use technology and innovation to the advantage of our residents and businesses. Becoming more efficient is also necessary to enhancing the resilience of this city. The cost of an LED fitting is still higher at this stage but it is coming down. It is projected that the lower energy usage and the reduced maintenance requirements of an LED fitting will result in substantial savings for the City over the life of the unit,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg. 
 
Refurbishment projects that will be done in this new financial year include Wesbank, Protea Valley, Avondale, Fairfield Estate, Killarney Gardens, Primrose Park and Bhunga Drive.