Partnership helps cities cut streetlight energy use

  • June 6, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

A partnership between Canadian LED streetlighting company RealTerm Energy and Florida-based Ubicquia has helped 30 cities reduce streetlight energy consumption by 67%.

RealTerm Energy provides energy-efficient turnkey LED street-lighting conversions for municipalities, and Ubicquia makes intelligent street infrastructure that is easy to deploy and monitor.

Together, they have completed 25 smart street lighting projects and are in the final stages of completing projects in five other cities across the USA and Canada. RealTerm Energy has also deployed other Ubicquia streetlight platforms for air quality monitoring, public wifi and video analytics to enhance public safety.

These cities, concerned about their carbon footprint, have converted their streetlights to LED and implemented smart lighting controls. Over half the cities in North America have made the conversion to LED lights, but less than ten per cent have opted to add lighting controls.

Lighting controls can deliver an additional twenty per cent in energy savings by enabling communities to implement remote dimming schedules. They also give cities real-time alerts that help them predict, prevent and address challenges, thereby improving operational efficiency. According to research by Northeast Group, LED conversions with smart lighting controls typically result in a 60 to 80% reduction in energy usage, along with a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions.

“As the market evolves and municipalities begin to understand LED streetlight technology, we are seeing the adoption of smart controls at the beginning of the process,” said Mike Coyle, vice president at RealTerm Energy.

The cities are using the following platforms to deliver savings:

  • UbiCell smart streetlight controller, which installs in minutes and is compatible with 360 million streetlights worldwide. The controllers allow communities to schedule and dim lights, enabling them to reduce power consumption, carbon emissions and cost.
  • UbiSmart AQM+ air quality monitor, which gives cities a way to monitor particulate pollution and other air quality hazards. This platform can identify potential environmental risks, such as a forest fire or pollutants, which may be harmful to people’s health.
  • UbiVu cloud-based management tool that makes monitoring and operating cities’ intelligent street infrastructure easy and intuitive. Cities can use this to monitor energy usage data and air quality, as well as troubleshoot equipment and perform scheduling.

“By deploying next-generation smart lighting controls and air quality monitoring platforms in communities across the country, RealTerm Energy and Ubicquia are helping municipalities improve the environment and quality of life for their residents,” said Mark Carter, vice president at RealTerm Energy. “We are proud to work with Ubicquia and community leaders to help cities and towns make significant, measurable cuts to their environmental impact, energy usage and costs.”

Ian Aaron, CEO of Ubicquia, added: “We are honoured to be a valued smart city technology partner to RealTerm Energy. Mark and his team have a proven LED streetlight conversion programme that saves their municipal customers money, energy and reduces greenhouse gas emission. Our easy to install and manage platforms combined with RealTerm Energy’s expertise are making smart city services a reality to cities of all sizes.”

The town of Ogunquit in Maine said that by changing to LED streetlights instead of paying central main power $75,000 annually, the cost to taxpayers would be less than $12,000. In addition to the cost savings, the environmental benefits through reduced energy usage are estimated to reduce the town’s carbon footprint by 139 tons annually.

“We are very pleased that we have taken on the management of all our streetlights and completed the conversion of our cobra heads and decorative fixtures in the project with RealTerm,” said Marcy Denker, sustainability coordinator in the village of Nyack, New York. “We’re saving money through reduced operating costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and, as an extra perk, we received recognition and a grant award from Nyserda for the accomplishment.”

Andrew MacLean, administrator for the town of Pepperell in Massachusetts, added: “Pepperell is strongly committed to climate change issues and considered converting to LEDs as an opportunity to reduce energy consumption. We have also declared ourselves a dark-sky friendly community and strive to eliminate unneeded night-time lighting. This conversion reduces night-time lighting and glare without compromising the public safety benefits of street lighting.”

Ubicquia’s products are compatible with more than 360 million streetlights and 500 million utility poles worldwide. Founded in 2013, RealTerm Energy specialises in LED and smart lighting controls with more than 350 projects across the USA and Canada.