LED: sustainable, but above all maintenance-friendly

All external lighting to be LED within a decade

Is LED sustainable? “That’s a no-brainer”, says Rik de Bruin, TU Delft technical area manager. “LED consumes less energy, the lights last for longer and even the fittings have a longer lifespan.” Within a decade, all external lighting on campus will be LED. “It's high time, because the existing lighting is reaching the end of its lifespan. It will also make a lot of difference in terms of maintenance”, expects Rik.

Kluyverpark, in the southern part of the campus, was the first location where LED lighting was used, for the lampposts and ground lights. That was back in 2015. It started as a pilot to test which fittings were suitable. It also involved testing the electrics: the power cables, voltages and impact on the network. There were some teething problems with the latter in particular. LED consumes more electricity when switching on, causing a higher peak load on the electricity network. In the power supply units, the safety cut-out kicked in. The solution was to reduce the number of LED fittings and lower the switch-on surge in the supply units. “The challenge of resolving that issue has provided useful technical input for the introduction of LED on the rest of the campus”, says Rik.

After the pilot, a schedule of requirements was drawn up providing technical guidance on how to install LED right down to the power cable. This will enable the widespread deployment of LED across the campus. There is now LED lighting in the lampposts at increasing numbers of locations. 

Advantages of LED

Conventional lights have to be replaced after two to five years. In theory, a LED light source should last as long as the fitting, around 20 to 25 years. “A lamppost has a lifespan of around 40 to 50 years. We only expect to have to replace the light and the fitting once during that lifespan”, says Rik. 

Another advantage of LED lighting is the ability to use software to control it remotely. This enables you to monitor electricity consumption, easily dim or increase brightness or even change the colour. 

As well as saving energy, LED also represents a socially sustainable solution because it helps improve safety. “We normally use lighting up to 5 lux, but we have enough capacity for 10 lux”, explains De Bruin. This makes it possible to adjust the lighting level as required, for example during events with lots of visitors. In late 2018, dynamic dimming (dimming based on need) was introduced for the public lighting.

LED ambition

TU Delft’s ambition is to replace all the existing conventional lighting with LED in the space of a decade. In major reconstruction projects on campus, everything will be converted. This applies to the area behind the CEG faculty, where all the lampposts will be switched to LED during development. It is expected that 75% of the current area can be replaced within three to four years. The rest will be replaced in the last six to seven years.

LED CO2 reduction

Replacing conventional lighting with LED will save 8,500 kg of CO2 on an annual basis. Over a decade, that amounts to a planned CO2 reduction of 85,000 kg. Once everything is converted to LED, the result is expected to be a 41% reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emissions.