In view of drastically increased energy costs, the first cities are planning further savings in street lighting. Other municipalities are currently examining such a step.
Reduced street lighting is “one idea in a bundle of possible measures” that is being discussed in municipalities, said Alexander Handschuh from the German Association of Towns and Municipalities. For many cities, however, further shutting down the street lighting is no longer an option, according to a survey by the German Press Agency.
The city of Weimar will reduce the duration of its street lighting from June 1st: In the summertime, the street lamps will be switched on 30 minutes later and 30 minutes earlier. In the winter months, the original lighting time is reduced by 10 minutes, as the city announced. This could save between 70,000 and 100,000 kilowatt hours per year – a saving of around 30,000 to 40,000 euros at the current energy price.
In Halle in Saxony-Anhalt, a spokeswoman for the municipal utility said that due to technical and organizational measures, it is not yet necessary for the city lights to remain on for a shorter period of time – “however, we are also preparing for this”.
In view of drastically rising energy costs, the city of Mainz is discussing further reductions in the lighting of footpaths and cycle paths. The city announced that street lighting between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. is already being reduced by 50 percent on less-used footpaths and cycle paths. Now, for the first time, demand-oriented street lighting is being planned, with the lanterns only going on when pedestrians and cyclists use the paths. The solar lights should have sensors for this.
Since 2012, the city of Mainz has relied on the expansion of LED technology in public street lighting. The savings achieved are enormous: in 2021, the use of LED technology saved around 1.7 million kilowatt hours compared to 2012. Compared to 2012, the annual energy requirement is reduced by around 20 percent.
Intelligent technology also in Darmstadt: Here, a cycle path in the city and also an already completed section of the cycle expressway Frankfurt – Darmstadt were equipped with special sensors: The lamps react to movement and become brighter when a cyclist or pedestrian passes and then darken again, as a city spokesman said.
The Hessian Ministry of Economic Affairs recently emphasized how important street lighting is for the city’s coffers: it accounts for up to 50 percent of a city’s or municipality’s electricity costs.
Despite the increased energy prices, the cities of Leipzig and Dresden do not want to save on street lighting. Here the street lamps are currently on for about eight hours at night. Shorter operating times are not planned. “A shorter light duration is always at the expense of road safety,” says Dresden.
Both in Dresden and in Leipzig, the light is dimmed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. – with conventional lamps, 30 percent of the energy could be saved, with LED lights even up to 50 percent, according to Leipzig.
The larger cities of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania see little potential for savings by reducing the lighting duration of street lamps. “We stick to traffic safety,” said Neubrandenburg’s climate protection manager. “We are already at the absolute minimum.”
A reduction in the burn time is also not planned in Hanover, Bremen and Oldenburg. “Previous inquiries from the citizens tend to go in the other direction, i.e. they want the switching times to be extended,” said Kim Vredenberg-Fastje, spokeswoman for the city of Oldenburg. In the three cities, the lanterns turn on automatically as dusk falls and turn off in the morning. In Bremen, for example, many lamps are dimmed to 50 percent between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.