Light off? How municipalities save on street lighting

Because of the energy crisis, many towns and communities in Lower Franconia are currently looking for ways to save and are therefore also checking their street lighting. Some are already reducing it. Only a few switch them off completely at times, as a BR24 research in Lower Franconia shows.

Conversion to LED lamps

One of the most effective ways to save energy in street lighting is to switch from traditional incandescent bulbs to LEDs. The city of Würzburg, for example, states that 10,000 of its 17,000 street lights are already equipped with LEDs. As a result, the city has already been able to reduce energy consumption from 6.6 million kilowatt hours to 4.3 million kilowatt hours per year.

The cities in Lower Franconia are at different stages when it comes to converting their street lamps to LED lamps, as research by Bayerischer Rundfunk shows: While Rieneck (district Main-Spessart), Schweinfurt and Miltenberg have installed LEDs almost everywhere, Hassfurt (district Haßberge) only 50 percent, Aschaffenburg 40 percent and Bad Königshofen (district Rhön-Grabfeld) 28 percent of the street lights.

Switch off lights completely?

But even with the use of LED lights, it would be more effective to switch off street lighting completely at night. However, this measure is currently out of the question for the city of Würzburg: the safety of road users would otherwise no longer be guaranteed, the city said when asked by BR24. The cities of Haßfurt, Rieneck, Bad Kissingen and Schweinfurt also told Bayerischer Rundfunk that for safety reasons they could not imagine darkening their streets completely – not even by the hour.

In Marktheidenfeld (district Main-Spessart) and Zeil am Main (district Haßberge), on the other hand, there is currently discussion about switching off the street lighting in some areas for a few hours at night, those responsible confirm. What is still being considered elsewhere is already a reality in Erlenbach am Main (District Miltenberg): The city switches off the lights there between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. – now you can look forward to the first projections to see how much electricity will be saved as a result will.

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Light dimming as a compromise solution

Most cities and communities are currently opting for a compromise solution when it comes to street lighting. For example, Würzburg dims its LED street lamps to 60 percent of their output between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Schweinfurt also has reduced lights between 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

The city of Aschaffenburg works with a special method: the street lighting switches on automatically at dusk. From 10 p.m. the power of the lanterns would be reduced by half, the city told BR24. When asked, Karlstadt (district Main-Spessart) informed that the city saves energy by switching the street lighting on later in the evening and off again earlier in the morning.