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Tvilight street lighting system saves up to 80% on energy and lessens pollution

By Damir Beciri
6 Comments15 July 2011

tu-delft-tvilightDelft University of Technology (TU Delft) is currently testing an intelligent street lighting system on their campus. Compared with the street-lighting system in use, the proposed intelligent system can reduce energy consumption and CO2 emission by up to 80%, it is cheaper and easier to maintain, and it could lessen the problem of light pollution in urban areas.

The system was developed by Chintan Shah, TU Delft alumnus Management of Technology. The realization of this campus pilot was the prize Shah won in March 2010 in the Campus Energy Challenge, a competition for TU Delft students with ideas on improving energy efficiency on the university campus.

“We are delighted with this development. This is a promising opportunity to save energy on street lighting”, said Gijs van Kuik, Professor of Wind Energy who is actively involved in making the campus more sustainable.

Shah’s system consists of street lights with LED lighting, motion sensors and wireless communication. It can be easily implemented on existing dimmable street lights as well. This enables the installation to dim the lights when there are no cars, cyclists or pedestrians in the vicinity. Although the system looks a lot like a widely available type of garden light with a motion sensor, it is much more sophisticated thanks to the communication among street lights and the signals street lights send to the control room.

“This technology differs in certain aspects from the existing systems of other companies and all of this new technology has been patented”, said Shah.

It activates all surrounding street lights if anyone approaches, enabling the light to travel a bit ahead the drivers and pedestrians. The lights never go out completely – they are dimmed to approximately 20% of the standard power. An added bonus is the fact that the lights automatically send a report of any failures to the control room, making maintenance cheaper and more efficient compared to current systems.

The short video above demonstrates the working principle of TVILIGHT Intelligent Dynamic Street Lighting Solution. The behavior and settings shown in the video are for demonstration purposes only, and each sensor can trigger 5 to 20 lamps around an occupant. The lighting levels and number of lamps are easily adjustable based on user needs.

“In my opinion, people might have preconceived ideas about he project. However we have already had reactions from people who completely accept it. I think that once everyone sees the project in practice, they will realize that, with the lighting dimmed, there is still a high degree of visibility and they will actually feel completely safe”, said Nicolas Voorzee, a member of Tvilight Team from TU Delft.

The aim of the pilot on the TU Delft campus is to thoroughly test and fine-tune the system, for example to prevent swaying branches or passing cats from switching the lights to full power. Shah is working with his TU Delft spin-off company Tvilight on the market introduction of the system, which he expects to be profitable within 3 to 5 years.

The Netherlands alone spends more than 300 million euros a year on electricity for street because the lights are always on at full power, regardless of whether there is anyone in the area. It also emits over 1.6 million tons of CO2 every year. According to Shah, the system pays for itself within a period of 3 to 4 years, and reduces the maintenance costs by up to 50% as well. They are looking for partners in order to create a pre-commercial demonstration where they could show their solution working on a larger scale.

I wonder does the system impact the people who live in the vicinity of street lights, since the relatively fast variation of light intensity could lead to sleep deprivation of the nearby occupants.

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6 Comments — Leave your response!

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    Very innovative lighting system to conserve power while not in use.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

  • Avatar
    Article update

    According to latest statement from TVILIGHT, their system:
    – Saves 50 – 80% energy when compared to existing (street) lighting system
    – Reduces operation and maintenance costs by 50%
    – Return on investment between 4 – 6 years


    In the video above, you can see the interview with Chintan Shah who came up with the ‘smart’ automated LED street lighting system. The inspiration for such a system came when Chintan was flying over Europe at night and noticed just how much light was being used and how bright the landscape was. He knew that most of these lights did not need to be on or in an ideal world, they could be regulated and controlled.

    Shah and his team now run a start-up that is trying to commercialize the system. They’ve had some success with units being installed in towns in the Netherlands and in one town in Ireland.

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    Wish I knew about this website earlier, since you published the original news waaaaaay back.

    This is a wonderful idea! Would love to see this implemented around the world.

  • Avatar
    Ron Hinton

    I don’t think it can pay off everywhere, but it can certainly find its uses in some areas.

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  • Avatar

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    Anyways, great site!

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