Abu Dhabi street lights go green

Thousands of power-saving LEDs will replace the incandescent street lamps in the city centre as part of a new energy conservation measure.

Residents in the capital will soon see Abu Dhabi in a new light. Thousands of power-saving light emitting diodes (LEDs) are to replace the incandescent street lamps in the city centre, as part of a new energy conservation measure, Abu Dhabi Municipality said yesterday. The plan, which should be phased in during the next five years, is expected to be approved within two months. Abdullah al Shamsi, the acting executive director of municipal assets and infrastructure, revealed the news yesterday during the opening day of the World Future Energy Summit at the exhibition centre. "Within these days, we'll circulate or regulate designs of street lights that will help to reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent," he said. "[LED technology] will be used in houses, buildings, streets and parking lots. This is for local roads, parks, most places." Mohammed bin Zayed City and Khalifa City will both be illuminated by LEDs. Although he did not divulge the costs of installing the eco-friendly fixtures or the annual electricity costs for street lighting in the capital, Mr al Shamsi assured that the return on investment would save the city money in the long-run. "We've done studies that have shown that within seven years, we can cover the costs," he said. The white LED fixtures can cost about three times more than traditional lamps, but they burn brighter at street level than the yellow-toned incandescent fixtures and last longer, which would mean less maintenance. Mr al Shamsi added that an 18-month-long pilot project to install the cost-cutting bulbs in the Al Mushrif area was a success. "We tested this, of course, and we were very happy with the result," he said. The LEDs last for more than 50,000 hours, but they will not yet be installed on major highways because they may not adequately illuminate the roads from the heights of those lampposts. The municipality's outdoor lighting plan was just one of many initiatives from the emirate that show Abu Dhabi's commitment to green governance, the Undersecretary of the Department of Municipal Affairs, Ahmed Shareef, noted yesterday. "Our participation [at the World Future Energy Summit] reflects our government agenda, which is sustainability," he said. "We're a small spot on this globe. We don't have the highest technology, but we have a big role in this initiative to save the world from environmental catastrophe." Al Ain Municipality is also doing its part to be green by using 75 per cent recycled grey water to irrigate all its parks, said Mubarak al Khalili, the executive director for area services. "Over the next two years, we want to get that up to 95 per cent," he said, adding that Al Ain is spending Dh250 million to build 11 residential parks, playgrounds and 17 neighbourhood football pitches. As for Al Gharbia, the general manager of Western Region Municipality Hamoud al Mansouri noted that the municipality would lead by example with the construction of a new Dh350 million, energy-efficient headquarters in Liwa. "This is going to be the first green and sustainable building [in Al Gharbia]," he said of the building, which was designed to be climate-specific. Slatted walls instead of windows to reduce sun penetration, white paint to reflect heat and landscaping would reduce the cooling load in the new building, more than halving the current energy bills. mkwong@thenational.ae