Traditionally, our cities have come to grow into a uniform look. As manufacturers get better names for themselves, and establish themselves as a nation-wide standard, they get retrofitted into other areas of the country, and the result is a uniform, cookie-cutter style to much of what we see each day.
The dilemma therein would be how do we take this into the next generation of equipment? I want to focus today's efforts on street lights. Cast aside the fact that some are mounted on wooden poles, and some are their own metallic fixtures, and just look at the actual lamp structure. Chances are, you immediately think of the typical cobrahead style lamp assembly.
If you're in North America, your reference of cobrahead lights is furthermore defined by the copperish brassy orange that emits from them at night. This is a result of the nature of it being a sodium light. If you're old enough to remember a time when all the street lights were white with a hint of greenish blue color, you're remembering mercury vapor lighting. Our sodium lights we currently use are thus safer for everything as we've moved away from mercury, but the orange color is a downfall. Any time you light a scene with a single color instead of white, you loose information. Light a red ball with a green light, and the ball will appear almost black. One can imagine how this isn't exactly a desirable effect when lighting roads.
Well today, we are at the advent of LED lighting. Chemically safe, efficient, next-gen, and possibly almost as important as being efficient, they're just about plain white light! This means a more proper scene for our eyes to recognize.
Below is an example of LED lighting at night.
Now, the cobrahead lamp fixture has gone through several changes for consideration of the environment and people's enjoyment (and safety) ... For example, the protruding bulb has been negated by shields in the past, which block the light from irritating motorists as they drive. This has been negated by simply using glass that's flush with the bottom of the fixture. Angling the lamp slightly could also help alleviate eye strain from the light globes.
But as refined as the cobrahead light has become, and despite the fact that it's been modified now to support LED lighting, my question to you all is, "Should we keep it?"
This is the era of a more efficient, more responsible society. We are more consciencious of our energy usage than ever before now, and we're setting foot into a new age! Should we still strive to keep things the same?
My question is, how strongly do you agree or disagree that we should have redesigned lamp fixtures in our cities?
Me? I think we are definitely due for a change. I prefer the box style LED lights. Flat surface, embedded lighting, Total Internal Reflection design, all sorts of goodies are part of these. Plus, fixtures like this can even be lit with as little as 80w-120w! ... that's a huge power savings!
So get your city planning hats on and tell me what you think? Have you seen any lamp design that you're particularly fond of? Should we ditch the cobraheads? Do you actually like the orange lighting we have now?
My father is an electrical wholesaler and a movement to LED lighting could give a ton of business. I am okay with that!
I really think the cities need to do it as a long-term investment. The main problem in California is that it is broke. And cities do not have street lights on their to-do list, so it leaves it to the state to do. Maybe the federal government could give a mandate or some sort of grant to states to do it.
Welcoming Committee- "The business of gaming is business"
Solar is another big step. I do not see solar being dominant for a long time, though. The pricing for the equipment needs to come down ina price a bit more to warrant the investment.
Welcoming Committee- "The business of gaming is business"
Solar panels are a whole new facet of LED lighting solutions. If utilized properly, solar power could essentially light a city block for about what you'd be burning up using one of those industrial worklights (like you see at construction sites) 80 watts per light, and 5 fixtures per block, which is about 160 feet x 160 feet in our case (I've actually done some big research and figured this is a pretty golden dimension for minimum city block dimensions) ... you'll have a light every 32 feet. It could be possible to achieve "perfect" light distribution with 32-feet distributions, and still light each "grid cell" so to say, for 5x4 or 20 lights. 20 lights running at 80w is just 1600 watts. Add solar power collection into the mix and you're looking at some ridiculously efficient lighting solutions. For what it's worth, you can go to Home Depot or Lowe's and get a halogen work light that burns 1500w. Truly impressive to get a whole 160ft² lit with so few watts.
I actually have envisioned the lights being on motion sensor grids. Where the lights will dim to half, then quarter power based off time elapsed with no vehicle or pedestrian motion detected. Once motion is detected in a city grid, that grid, and the adjacent grids would go to full brightness. Essentially you'd be able to drive down the road (traffic lights would be synched with traffic flow as well) at the middle of the night, and watch the lights in front of you turn on to full power (probably time for inactivity time-outs would be 10 minutes, then 30 minutes presumably) And that's even yet another item of discussion, is optimizing flow of traffic for allowing the most non-stop vehicular traffic possible (think DRAMATICALLY less fuel consumption, less car wear and tear, etc). OMG roundabouts. yes. wait, back to topic.
I think if a city relies on the state for funding, I think the state should be at the level of responsibility that it would take future-proofing into account. You'd go in and decide your equipment decisions would be based off whether you can assign brightness settings to it via control systems. You'd want to pay extra for solar paneling, or even wind turbines on the poles, as I've seen in some open areas (could even work well in city scenarios, since buildings usually cause large downdrafts).
The state should however take into consideration a city's ultimate style and design decisions, provided they are reasonable. For example, if they wanted all light fixture's lamps to be a bright blue color, and poles would be white, or if they preferred certain styles of poles, etc.
Do it right the first time and you avoid wasted money, IMO.
We should use fire braziers.
Thanks to video gaming, my first instinct upon seeing a fire brazier is, "If I jump on top of it, will it hurt me?"
Here's a link that's a great read to efficiency. Case studies are always great sources
At least I got a kick out of it