Rollout of smart lighting: Brussels set to reduce its annual electricity consumption by 20% by 2035
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Rollout of smart lighting: Brussels set to reduce its annual electricity consumption by 20% by 2035

Like Paris, London and Copenhagen, Brussels is gradually integrating "smart" street lamps into its municipal public lighting network. Not only are they remotely controllable and able to communicate in real time on their operating status, they will also allow energy savings and even more efficient management of public lighting. This will position Brussels as one of the leading cities in terms of intelligent management of its energy resources. 

THE EQUIVALENT OF 600 TRIPS AROUND THE PLANET BY CAR EACH YEAR

The rollout of smart lighting will make it possible to cut electricity consumption in Brussels by 20 % by 2035 (i.e. 1.5 % per annum), thanks to more precise programming of each street lamp In addition, this will result in a 4000-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions each year, equivalent to 600 trips around the world in a diesel-driven car.

Other practical features of smart lighting will benefit all of Brussels’ residents, such as a reduction in light pollution thanks to the possibility of adjusting the intensity of the street lights, faster and more precise intervention in the event of breakdowns and therefore a reduction in any feeling of insecurity.

Finally, remotely controlled lighting is an indispensable technology for managing multiple innovations such as dimming or light bubbles to illuminate passers-by. 

Marie-Pierre Fauconnier, Managing Director of Sibelga: "The energy transition requires better management of all available resources, including public lighting. The rollout of smart lighting will enable Brussels to reduce its annual electricity consumption by 20% by 2035, which is equivalent to 600 trips around the world by car, benefitting all of Brussels' residents. "

INTELLIGENT MANAGEMENT OF ENERGY RESOURCES IN BRUSSELS

As manager of the municipal public lighting network in Brussels, Sibelga manages the gradual deployment of this technology, in collaboration with its partner Engie Solutions. Indeed, in recent years Sibelga had already installed new-generation street lamps compatible with this new smart system. Deployment will therefore be carried out first and foremost on these existing lamps: Six thousand streetlamps will be connected by April 2021 and 8,000 by the end of 2021.

At the same time, starting this year, Sibelga will systematically deploy the solution when replacing or installing new street lamps. In total, Brussels should therefore have around 12,000 street lamps connected by the end of 2021, 16,000 by the end of 2022 and 20,000 by the end of 2023 (i.e. around 25% of the public lights on the city’s roads).

BUT HOW DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY WORK IN PRACTICE?

The lighting units that are compatible with this new technology are equipped with a Luminaire Controller, a small device about 8 cm in diameter (see illustrations in the appendix) that sends and receives information via a given communication network. In most cases, this Luminaire Controller is placed directly above the street lamp and is therefore practically invisible from the ground. 

Luminaire Controllers communicate either via existing GSM networks (4G) or via a radio frequency network, which is particularly suited to the needs of public lighting. In the latter case, a small radio frequency antenna is installed to relay data to and from the Luminaire Controller. This system, which complies with the strictest standards in force in the Brussels-Capital Region, has already been successfully deployed in Copenhagen, London and Paris. 

Finally, it should be noted that the connected street lamps only communicate when they are in operation. That is, sporadically in the evening and at night. All the lighting managed by Sibelga is in fact completely de-energised during the day.