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IPWEA launches guidance document on impending upgrades for a million street lights

03 Jun 2019

Confidently presenting a robust and technically sound business case for street lighting and smart control upgrades is now even easier, with the release of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia's (IPWEA) Model Business Case for Street Lighting and Smart Controls Upgrades.

Almost one million old street lights are likely to be replaced in Australia in the next three to four years, compelling many councils, road authorities and utilities to consider large-scale lighting upgrades. This is due to the global Minamata Convention on Mercury, which is already restricting the availability of old-mercury lights for street lighting in Australia. Almost 900,000 remaining mercury vapour street lights are found on Australian roads; without available replacement lamps, complete replacement of these lights in the near-term now appears inevitable.

Written with support from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Commonwealth Government's Department of the Environment and Energy, the Model Business Case, provides guidance for local government, main road agency and utility staff wanting to put forward a compelling and accurate case for making the change to LED street lighting and smart controls.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth congratulated IPWEA on the Model Business Case which is a template document that can be adapted for both large and small street lighting projects in urban and rural locations.

"Street lighting is a major contributor to the carbon emissions of local councils, but LED lighting and smart controls can go a significant way towards reducing that impact, through their significantly lower energy use," Mr Learmonth said.

"We've previously worked with councils who have made the switch to LED street lights and have achieved energy savings of around 70 per cent. We're very supportive of others wanting to follow suit and think this resource will help overcome a major identified hurdle by making it easier to clearly present the business case for change."

The Model Business Case is IPWEA Street Lighting and Smart Control (SLSC) Programme's third guidance document. The first two documents in the suite - model specifications for public LED lighting and lighting controls - aim to assist public lighting buyers, vendors, contractors, funders and advisors to efficiently and economically procure LED lighting and smart control systems for public lighting.

IPWEA Acting CEO Ben Balov said the Model Business Case has been developed to be a user-friendly tool that will accelerate the rollout of LED lighting and smart control projects.

"Sitting down to create a business case for a relatively new and complex field can understandably be daunting. We want to remove as many barriers as possible for best-practice LED and smart control changeovers," Mr Balov said.

"IPWEA modelling shows that if every street light in Australia were converted to LEDs, councils would slash $100 million off their annual street lighting bills and reduce our street lighting's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 52%. When you add in smart controls that allow street lights to be dimmed when appropriate, that energy reduction can be as high as 72%.

"Like the first two guidance documents in the suite, the Model Business Case will be a living document, updated regularly and as needed to bring certainty to the process of writing a street lighting and smart controls upgrade business case."

The Model Business Case is available on the SLSC website (  /

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