While climate change abatement has generally focused on renewable energy, studies suggest that an often over-looked solution is energy efficiency. Illumination sustainability is a new strategic front for local governments.

Energy efficiency can be both cost-effective and pollution reducing, and it also plays a key role in enhancing safety and well-being in local communities.

The City of Copenhagen in Europe is among the cities around the world leading the way in energy efficiency projects, with the implementation of LED lighting across the city. LED lighting is a game changer for local governments given its efficient, long-life, cost effective, low waste characteristics. LED is recognised to be one of the most effective public space lighting options.

In the case of Copenhagen, LED lighting has been creatively used as road markers for cyclists. Green LED light intervals stretch across the city centre on bike paths to make for safer cycling and to encourage more cyclists. The LED bike paths contain in-built technology to flash and warn cyclists of upcoming red traffic lights and can also highlight alternative cycling routes if required.

One of the great features of LEDs is that they can dim more efficiently in comparison to other lighting forms, which has help them to further establish their eco-credentials. The Copenhagen’s LEDs brighten as vehicles and cyclists approach with roadside sensors. This unique function is a particularly revolutionary way to combat light pollution, which can impact local ecosystems.

The Copenhagen LED network is planned to launch new functions such as sanitation alerts to indicate full trash cans. The city also plans to use sensors to track bus and bike movements to ultimately give them priority when travelling. For example, the LED network could recognise large cycling groups and hold traffic lights green for them.

Another opportunity of the LED paths is their ability to flash and warn other vehicles of on-coming cyclists to reduce the dangers of blind spots. LED could also become more dynamic in monitoring traffic flow to enable smart traffic lane markings that change how the road is allocated for vehicles.