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Cost saving and sustainability in road lighting

  • Cost saving and sustainability
Sep 20, 2021

Improved road lighting, improved sustainability

Respecting the Environment

The last twenty-five years of lighting innovation has transformed our daily lives and the roads we travel, we find ourselves surrounded by LED lighting.  From the outset we knew that LEDs hugely increased electrical efficiency compared with incandescent lamps.  But has this efficiency and flexibility taken centre stage when designing sustainable urban lighting schemes that are future -proof?  Here at Thorn we have been hard at work to fully explore the benefits of our intelligent technology on the environment, as we play our part in creating the future of sustainable lighting.

The impact of poor lighting schemes on the natural world can affect breeding cycles, behaviour, vulnerability to predators, and hormone levels, particularly melatonin.  Over recent years Thorn has strived to make changes that really offer customers the best sustainable lighting products. We aim to sustainably light your roads using intelligent controls where people, places and the planet can all benefit equally.

What is at the heart of sustainability in road lighting? 

  • By implementing circular economy principles into our processes, we can contribute by improving resource efficiency. 
  • Intelligent controls that deliver energy savings.
  • Sustainable material choices to prolong the useful economic life of our products.
  • Providing comprehensive Environmental Product Declarations containing detailed information on the life-cycle performance of products.
  • Continually investing in research and innovation

Correctly lit roads are safer with fewer accidents.  Correctly lit and sustainable roads are safer and adapt to the changing requirements demanded by day and night.

Less Cost, Less Wasted Light

Urban planning practices have a responsibility to control harmful emissions and to reduce energy consumption and waste. Carefully designing road lighting schemes with Thorn LEDs and controls reduce CO₂ emissions, save costs, operate efficiently, and see faster returns on investment. The journey to reduce our energy consumption began with the early adoption of the ISO 50001: 2018 Energy Management Standard. We are proud to be the first lighting manufacturer in the UK to achieve this certification.

How do our products save you money?

  • Less energy:  Unnecessary light can spill onto unrelated areas and cause brightening or discomfort, this is known as obtrusive light. It reduces the efficiency of lighting installations as light is wasted and is a nuisance to nature and neighbouring properties.

How do we achieve optimum performance to mitigate light spill?  When planning and designing road lighting schemes we suggest luminaires that have a lower lumen output therefore requiring reduced mounting height, which helps reduce spill light and reduces costs.

  • Better positioning:  Installing luminaires nearly horizontally and pointing downwards reduces the impact on night skies with less upward light loss. We suggest low mounting heights of under 6 metres to further reduce wasted light. Single sided or staggered layouts are best when parking lanes and wide footpaths are present.
  • More Control: Intelligent controls have the biggest impact on energy consumption whilst adapting to the demands of modern municipal lighting.  Our linked traffic detection and control systems provide lower light levels during reduced traffic periods saving energy and reducing light pollution.

Thorn’s smart lighting solutions use RF-based wireless remote-control systems, which provide maximum flexibility with reduced energy and maintenance costs.

Group controls such as time switches, photocells and motion detectors give steady savings with little management. Our Bi-Power Switch (BPS) solutions can dim lights by 50% for eight hours overnight. Customisation is simple and requires no external control wiring. Daylight sensing photocells reduce energy consumption by up to 50%. 

How are we Prioritising Sustainability at Thorn Lighting?

Circular Economy: Our goal is to improve resource efficiency through better waste management, focusing on minimising and preventing waste throughout a product’s lifecycle and recycling valuable materials. Adopting the BS 8001 standard means we will be operating with circular economy principles in our business processes by 2021.

Already we provide Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) as standard. Customers receive detailed information on the life-cycle performance of products and the environmental impact of the materials and components used. As well as functional and technical properties the EPD provides and end-of-life considerations. Information on additional assessment factors includes the acidification, eutrophication, and global warming potential of a product.  The information given by our comprehensive EPD is also essential for environmental certifications such as LEED, BREEAM or ÖGNI and helps customers select the most sustainable products. 

Efficiency: In the 2019/20 financial year the Zumtobel Group marketed luminaires with an average energy efficiency of 121.8 lm/W; in the previous year, this value equalled 116.4 lm/W. An improvement of 4.6% in energy efficiency compared with the previous year. We are committed to being a part of efficiency efforts by the global lighting industry.  We would like to see the share of electrical energy required for artificial lighting reduce from roughly 20% at the start of the 21st Century to nearly 13%.

Technology: LED technology has brought intelligent and Internet-linked lighting and in turn the development, production and sale of innovative, sustainable products and services that represent the fundamental building blocks for the success of a sustainable future.

Energy Management: Under ISO 50001 we strive to continuously improve our energy performance and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Energy-related performance is defined as the result of efficient energy use, appropriate energy use and energy consumption. We carry out regular energy audits in our factories to identify opportunities for savings and develop measures for improvement.  Across all our plants we have adopted sophisticated measurement systems and realised significant energy savings. We understand our energy consumption, and act positively upon the changes needed. We are proud to be the first lighting manufacturer in the UK to achieve this certification.

Make the Sustainable Change

As retailers exit towns and cities there is a greater need for smart urban planning.  Roads require intelligent solutions allowing traffic, people, and nature to live harmoniously and safely.  At Thorn we are dedicated to respecting the environment by optimising the reliability and longevity of products, supporting the conservation of energy, protecting delicate ecosystems and making the right material choices, all without reducing the standards of services and solutions we offer.

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