Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 3, 2015: In the Middle East, Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront in using sustainable lighting solutions. Apart from witnessing a sharp increase in power saving, it has also played an indispensable role in increasing the beauty quotient to the city. As part of the city’s lighting strategy, the Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM) recently implemented its sustainable lighting project that offers multi-pronged benefits, including a drastic reduction in overall costs by 40% - 80% over 20 years, curbing carbon dioxide emission by 75% and reducing power consumption by at least 60%.
The ADM lighting strategy is spearheaded by Mr. Martin Valentine, Lighting Expert, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, who will be in the spotlight at the 4th Annual Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit 2015 elaborating upon Abu Dhabi Municipality’s existing and future lighting strategy.
1. What has been the impact of the street lighting strategy undertaken by Abu Dhabi Municipality?
Dramatic in various ways! On the ground since we have implemented the strategy via statutory policy documents, all projects have been designed, approved and installed in line with the strategy’s criteria. So we have growing examples of installations being felt and experienced by the public and recorded by the municipalities and the results have exceeded expectations. Further afield we have also seen how our strategy has been adopted or adapted by many other countries in the region and this is a testament to the work undertaken by Abu Dhabi.
2. Having attained regional and global recognition for its achievements in the field of smart and sustainable lighting, what is the future of intelligent lighting for the city of Abu Dhabi?
Well for me smart or intelligent lighting is a term best used to describe the process of correct design and specification of lighting. Get that wrong and no amount of controls or added layers can make any difference. The recognition we have received has been purely on the lighting decisions we have made for correct design, specification and application. But get this right and then added layers of benefit can indeed be achieved to meet the needs of a client. We will introduce lighting management and dimming in the future as part of the approved steps for the lighting strategy, but this will be done to meet our needs for control, asset management, maintenance and investment in coordination with our various internal departments and other stakeholders.
3. With governments across the globe investing in smart cities infrastructure, do you think that has boosted the adoption of smart city lighting projects?
What are smart city lighting projects exactly? Find me two people in the industry that can define this phrase in the same way technically with regards to lighting and perhaps I can answer. Currently there is too much spin and confusion arising from trendy generic terms such as this and I prefer to cut through the hype and define things from a client’s perspective: What do we want, what don’t we need, is it failsafe and robust, what are the true benefits to us financially and socially, how much does it cost, when can we achieve payback? If anything doesn’t address these key issues it can’t be a very smart decision can it?
4. Keeping Abu Dhabi Municipality as a benchmark, what measures do you think other governments need to undertake to create demand in the lighting sector?
Depends for what part of the lighting sector one wants to create demand. If governments (and/or their appointed consultants) don’t consider the qualitative, human health and long-term performance issues with lighting, than purely cost-based tendering will stimulate only those within the industry producing products to compete on output and cost alone. Of which there are plenty, and there will always be someone new with something cheaper to offer.
Many appear to have gone down this road and I am alarmed at the increasing number of press reports over awful retrofitting, with complaints regarding glare, colour and distribution issues. Governments need to balance the economic against social, environmental and performance aspects to create demand in the industry only for those companies ready and able to meet these needs with their products or consultant services. If there one key aspect of the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Lighting Strategy to benchmark it is this key message rather than focusing on the decision to implement LEDs, controls or lower lighting levels alone.
5. What will be the focus of your session at the Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit?
This year brings some significant changes and additions to Abu Dhabi’s lighting standards which are leading toward the issue of revised and expanded Lighting Specifications for the Emirate. I will present the key aspects of these changes at the event. We will be pushing true sustainability and quality even further than before and demanding improved lighting design requirements for every single aspect. More assistance and standardization for this will be provided in the standards too where it has proven to be required. There will be some dramatic changes and new requirements being announced, I can tell you now!
The Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit 2015, in its fourth year now, has evolved into a unique collaborative knowledge-sharing platform and has set the benchmark in the lighting industry across the Middle East. Mr. Martin Valentine, Lighting expert, Abu Dhabi Municipality, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s edition of the Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit 2015 that will be held on 23-24 November 2015 at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi.