How to manage street lighting projects?

1. Reliability of the manufacturers

Energy efficiency means cost efficiency at the same time, of course- if the products fulfil all determined parameters. The real work starts here: it is almost impossible to judge product according to their data sheets and marketing materials. As we speak about a fairly new technology, we do not have real traditions and experiences behind our decisions, and technical parameters or the reliability of a manufacturer can not be a question of trust. So how we could judge if the offers and products really can complete the required parameters, and which sheets are full with bullshits around the products (and actually there are a lot of manufacturers, who have marketing materials like this)? That’s why it would be useful to request for advice from other cities’ leaders, who have already made similar projects, who have already real experiences in managing similar projects, so we can collect information about the quality of products in advance.

2. Define the scope of the project

For smaller communities it may be economical to convert all of the street lights at once, if there is a stable financial background behind it. That’s why it could be necessary, to examine where it is urgent and technically possible to change the luminaires, eventually partially?

3. Determine the funding source

Here are a few potential sources of funding that have been used or considered by other cities, self funding, external (governmental/ union) funds fully/ partially. So, let’s examine, if there is any external source, which can support us to realize the project, and what kind of regulations should be taken into account, and which manufacturers can produce luminaries, which meet the requirements of the tender funds?

4. Complete the financial analysis

A preliminary analysis of the financial payback can be done pretty quickly.

The formula for Simple Financial Payback is = Initial Cost of the Program/ Annual Savings in Energy and Maintenance.

Typically programs with paybacks under 5 years should certainly be done and paybacks over 10 years are usually deferred.


5. Determine if street lights are going to be purchased by the city direct or through the installing contractor

Generally speaking the most cost effective method for these projects is for the city to buy the luminaires directly and have them installed by their own crews or by an outside contractor. Take into consideration, that products with almost the same specifications can differ in efficiency.

6. Develop a simple, preliminary specification to help narrow down the fixture selection

As we mentioned, there are a lot of potential product available on the market. We can choose them free, but the rational is to define what we expect from the following aspect: efficiency in which high will be the lamp mounted angle of the lamp further development ability of the product warranty terms maintenance terms durability of the lamp (check the lamps exterior design)

7. Invite manufacturers to present their products for testing and preliminary evaluation

8. Test the preferred luminaires in a residential street application

Based on the results of the preliminary evaluation in Step 7, it is a good idea to identify potential manufacturers who presented products that met the specification and offered mechanical or performance features that the city found desirable. After that we should identify a typical part of the city, where it is possible to mount 4 lamps/ manufacturer according to our original technical description. By the 2nd and 3rd lamps it will be easy to perform photometric measurements, and compare the results.

9. Issue and award bid

Besides its costs, include efficiency, warranty terms and mounting mandatories. In this phase determine 2 potential manufacturer, with whom we can start the project implementation discussions.

10. Implement project

Post award communication with the luminaire manufacturer is also a key element for success. It is highly recommended to have a meeting with the manufacturer (or their representative) and the contractor (if applicable) immediately after the award. An additional luminaire sample should be provided at that meeting representing the exact model that will be furnished on the job. This should include any special wiring configurations, paint finish, labeling, accessories, carton, etc. This will avoid any misunderstanding of exactly what is being ordered and delivered. Delivery should also be discussed. A realistic schedule should be developed that will allow the manufacturer to deliver the products consistent with the city’s ability to have them installed. Often on large projects, storage is a critical issue. If the project becomes delayed due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances and the city does not have the facilities to store the luminaires, contingency arrangements should be made.