Dubliners are to have a greater chance of seeing the stars under a plan to upgrade the city’s public street lighting at a cost of more than €55 million.
The plan to replace old street lights with LED technology will give energy savings of more than 50 per cent or up to €1.5 million a year, The Irish Times reports, and “contribute significantly” to Dublin City Council’s green transition goals.
The upgrade will also significantly reduce “sky glow,” meaning the orange glow around Dublin’s night sky will fade and bring the capital closer to having dark skies above street level.
The four-year plan to replace some 40,000 old street lights will commence this year, and will include the replacement of up to 4,000 “lighting columns” or lamp stands.
“It’s an exciting project that’s going to deliver a lot of benefits to the public,” Martin Maycock, senior engineer with the council’s public lighting section, said.
“From an environmental point of view the LED lights are far superior, but the resounding feedback we get is they give a greater feeling of safety.
"If you have an old orange light, everything is just orange and brown, but with the LED you have colour variation and far greater clarity.”
Dubliners will also have a greater chance of seeing the stars, Séamus MacSweeney, senior executive engineer, said.
“That orange hue that you see around the city, over time that should be significantly reduced,” Mr MacSweeney said.
“At street level it probably wouldn’t enable you to see the stars as you would in the countryside, but at a macro level, looking down at a city then you should see a significant reduction in the skyglow resulting in darker skies and a greater chance of seeing stars.”
The LED technology allows better lighting control overall, he said.
“With the old orange light there was very poor optical control so the light was spilled everywhere, including lighting up people’s front gardens and doors.
“With the LED there is very little light spill, so light can be more focused on the public area. Some people were quite happy to have their doors lit up, but we can’t keep everyone happy.”