Over summer (2023), Council started getting brighter, cleaner and more energy efficient.
As part of our commitment to the Zero Net Carbon Action Plan, providing a pathway for Council to become carbon neutral by 2025, we began replacing nearly 500 standard major and minor road mercury vapour street lights with energy efficient LEDs across the municipality.
The existing 80, 125 and 250-watt mercury vapour street lights are being replaced with LEDs that are up to 82% more energy efficient and will help us avoid the generation of greenhouse gas emissions.
Upgrading public lighting to LED is a major part of our Zero Net Carbon Action Plan, along with sourcing 100% renewable electricity; improving energy efficiency of our major buildings; energy efficiency and roof top solar for community facilities, fleet optimisation to reduce fuel use and transition to electric, sustainable procurement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase recycled content; and environmentally sustainable design for Council buildings and infrastructure.
The luminaire - the main body of the light, including the LED light source - will last for about 20 years.
Furthermore, around 98% of the old lights taken down during the project will be recycled. The glass collected is recycled into products such as glass wool insulation for homes while the mercury is distilled and reused in the dental industry to manufacture amalgam. Metal, like the aluminium body and other fixed components (steel screws and copper wires), will be collected and melted down for reuse.
The new lights will also increase lighting quality, with more light directed towards the ground rather than off into the night sky. As well as improving safety for drivers and pedestrians, better-directed lighting will minimise light spill into our bushland reserves, meaning birds and wildlife will be less impacted.
Replacement started in Mulgrave over summer and will continue across Monash until the end of 2023. There will be minimal disruption to traffic, however, crews may be required to close traffic lanes for short periods of time. All cars can remain parked on the street.
Back in 2015 Council did the first changeover of 8200 lights to energy-efficient florescent lighting along some of our minor roads.
This installation reduced GHG emissions by 18% and saved significant costs for Council, through lower electricity bills and maintenance costs.
These lights are still working well – and still providing savings - so some of them will not be removed until their end-of-life.