Retrofitting Existing Street Lights With LED Can Save Money

Newer lighting tech drastically reduces energy use and emissions

Amongst the various concerns governments and environmentalists have regarding saving energy and reducing emissions, street lighting burning electricity every evening and increasing our carbon footprint is a key concern.

An alternative lighting technology to the common and very old sodium lighting type widely used is LED, and more areas UK and world-wide are embracing it.

The energy and environmental lighting issue

The widely used sodium lighting in our towns and cities is, by modern standards, expensive and inefficient and costs many cities and towns an average of 40% of their total electricity bill.

Costs are further increased through their need to be replaced on average every three to six years so making for a hefty maintenance bill for local authorities.

Governments are setting high energy use and emissions targets that older lighting technology simply can’t meet, so LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is seen as the way forward.

Many local authorities have moved at least part of the way over to LED with lighting conversion programmes in full swing (see below) with more to follow with street lighting specialists finding themselves being booked years ahead to do the work.

LED – cheaper and more efficient

LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular and widespread thanks to its energy efficiency and longevity; it’s becoming more common in automotive applications as more cars and other vehicles sport LED lights, and many homes and businesses now have at least some LED lighting.

LED offers a number of benefits:

  • Long life – LED lights last around 20-25 years compared to just three to six for conventional lighting so saving on replacement and maintenance costs
  • More focussed – LED lights are more focused so improving night visibility and reducing light spillage
  • Low energy consumption – saving power and emissions
  • Safer – LED lights don’t contain toxic materials such as lead and mercury
  • Vast cost savings – energy bills and maintenance costs could reduce by as much as 90%
  • More robust – LED lights are more durable and robust than older lighting types

How much can LED help save money and reduce emissions?

The short answer is ‘considerably.’ Both in the UK and worldwide significant benefits have already been seen with LED lighting conversions:

  • In Boston, USA, the city saves some $2.8 million (£2.1 million) each year in electricity having converted 40% of its street lights in 2012. When taking into account reduced maintenance costs the ‘break even’ point was reached around three years later.
  • In Portsmouth the majority of street lights are being replaced with LED; savings are expected to be around £400,000 per year with a 40% reduction in energy used.
  • In Brighton, an LED street light replacement project began in 2017 to replace 18,000 lights; the expected energy savings are in the region of £200,000 per year with a projected energy consumption and carbon emissions reduction of just over 60%.
  • In Manchester, the City Council commenced a project to replace the city’s 56,000 street lights with LED tech. When completed in 2020, the savings are likely to in the region of £1.7 million per year with emissions reductions of 7,500 tonnes.

Further savings and emissions reductions necessary

Although LED lighting clearly saves considerably on energy use and reduces emissions considerably, in itself this won’t be enough to meet strict energy consumption and emissions targets.

In order to boost savings and reduce emissions, LED lighting will combine with tech such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) to create ‘intelligent’ street lighting such as this Future Cities demonstration project in Glasgow .

This tech can control when lighting is switched on and off, when it’s dimmed, how much it’s dimmed by, and alter lights through using motion sensors to detect movement and activity and switch lighting on or brighten it when needed.

This will help not only make for more useful lighting for various situations (for example lights coming on in daylight when there’s heavy fog) but contribute to more cost savings and reduced emissions.

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Why An SLR Will Always Beat A Cameraphone

Bringing Back A Love Of Photography

The digital age is doing nothing for young photographers who are embracing classic SLR cameras to explore their art.

The compact camera market has been in decline for the past decade, but new figures reveal that sales are now rising once again. Since the advent of cameraphones, it’s understandable that consumers have been less willing to carry around both a camera as well as their mobile, when in many situations their phone acts well as a two-in-one device. So, it may come as something of a surprise that taking photos with an SLR camera is emerging as a favoured option, particularly by younger photographers. Here’s why they’re falling in love with film!

Convenience Isn’t Everything

The cameraphone is the epitome of the instant, on-demand digital world that we live in. It’s convenient of course, and we all love being able to reach into our pocket to capture a cute shot of our kids, a cheeky pic of a celeb sitting in our favourite coffee shop, or Friday night drinks with friends. But much has been lost with this type of photography. Where once, people would get excited about printing off their photos, going to pick them up and then proudly displaying them in an album, the cameraphone is all about taking digital photos in bulk in the hope of finding one in ten shots that’s good enough to share around on social media or a Whatsapp group.

It may sound like an efficient process; after all, it doesn’t cost anything to take all those extra shots, so long as you delete the rubbish images and don’t clog up your memory. But SLRs have much to offer over the efficiency of the digital cameraphone.

Bringing Back The Soul Of Film Photography

Young photographers are becoming increasingly bored with digital photography. Reflex is a crowdfunded project that has created a manual 35mm SLR with 5 lens mounts. It’s based on a traditional model from the 60s and 70s but includes a removable film back enabling the user to shift films in daylight. The process of printing these images in a darkroom, is part of why young photographers feel so connected to this style of photography – it’s about slowing down and understanding the relationship between you and the subject of your shoot. A digital photographer can become distracted, particularly when shooting with a cameraphone, where they can adjust the images either onscreen or in Photoshop later on. But the SLR photographer has a better understanding of composition and being able to line up all those crucial elements of the perfect picture before taking the shot.

The Future Of SLR

But SLR isn’t purely about art and nostalgia. Whilst there’s constant news about the development of phone technology, that’s not to say that other camera tech has ceased. UK-based Kodak Alaris is looking into bringing back two of its most popular colour reversal films – both Ektachrome and Kodachrome are synonymous with 20th century images and were particularly popular in Hollywood. Nikon and Leica are also still making SLR cameras, so if you’ve fallen in love with film, then they’re a great brand to start with. You can even sell your old camera as a way to afford a new SLR model.

SLRs are to photography what vinyl records are to the music industry – timeless and nostalgic perfection. Something that the cameraphone won’t be able to offer for decades yet.

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Have Plans For The iPhone SE 2 Been Scrapped?

Why the Apple iPhone SE may not be replaced in the near future; rumours and counter rumours including possibility of new version with same design as iPhone X.

Apple’s ‘budget’ smartphone may not get a refresh unlike the rest of the range

It was widely expected that Apple would give its compact iPhone SE a significant refresh this year – possibly ahead of the launch of the next generation ‘main’ iPhone range slated for September 2018. More recent reports contradict this, however, and hint that Apple may leave the two-plus year old phone as it is for the foreseeable future.

What to believe?

The iPhone SE rumours

Since the SE has been on the market since March 2016 and is based on a body design dating back to the iPhone 4, a refresh or even full redesign seemed very much on the cards sooner rather than later.

Two predictions surfaced:

  • An all-new body design based on the current iPhone X to align with the likelihood that all iPhones will feature the X body style when the range is fully revised later in 2018
  • A similar body design to the present handset but with updated tech along the lines of existing models such as the 7 or 8 (the present SE features basically the internals of the 6S from 2016)

Possible ‘fade out’ of the SE altogether

Another theory was the possible natural ‘fade out’ of the SE as a phone model by leaving it unchanged before deleting it from the range at some stage. This is less likely as the SE is popular for one or both of the following reasons:

  • Its 4 inch screen makes for a compact body so appealing to those who prefer a smaller phone and don’t require a larger screen
  • The price point makes it more affordable compared to models further up the iPhone range – it starts at £349.00 so making it £200 cheaper than a 7 and half the price of an 8

On the question of price, while the SE gives users a ‘cheaper’ way into iPhone ownership, those who would like larger screens but find the buying new costs of Apple’s smartphone – especially the ‘Plus’ versions – prohibitive could take the refurbished iPhone 6 Plus route and save significantly.

Why might Apple not replace the SE?

It seems odd if Apple aren’t planning a refresh of the SE in view of how long it’s been on the market – bearing in mind the screen tech and body dates back even further.

The source of the rumour that there may not be a new SE is an accessory manufacturer, Olixar, who make cases for smartphones; they say they’ve had no word of a new SE model.

It makes sense that accessory makers would be in a good position to make predictions based on sound intelligence regarding forthcoming smartphone releases. They’re likely to get accurate industry information so equipment such as cases, chargers and the like can be designed and brought to the market in time for a new phone’s launch.

There again, the same company not so long ago thought a new SE was in the pipeline.

Other reliable sources such as industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks it more likely that Apple may not launch a new SE just yet simply because the company has enough on its plate with a fully redesigned iPhone range in the offing.

…But then again

Another theory is that, if the new SE (or whatever Apple may decide to rename it) does follow the slim bezel design of the iPhone X and the next generation of handsets, the company wouldn’t be keen to release it ahead of the rest of the range since it could steal their thunder.

It’s possible the entire range of iPhones, including a replacement for the SE, could be launched in one fell swoop in the autumn of 2018.

Replacing the current SE with a design based on the iPhone X body would be a canny move in that, while it could be the same compact size of the present model, it would effectively have a larger screen thanks to the very slim bezel design.

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