Illuminations are not just for Christmas
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Illuminations are not just for Christmas

23 June 2020 By Kath Johnson - Category Buyer of Highways at YPO

NHS illumination during covid-19

Recent developments in technology has meant that we can now use LED technology to illuminate our favourite buildings and architecture, as well as our highways. The energy efficiencies and the affordability are providing us with opportunities to explore cost-effective solutions to improve our environment.

Fireworks are an extremely popular way of creating a public attraction, especially huge events accompanied with loud music and dramatic displays of colours and shapes. But once the displays are over, it’s hard to avoid the feeling  of disappointment  when you realise how much money has gone up in smoke and certainly in more recent years the environmental costs of littering the skies.

I get the same feelings when I see illuminations at Christmas.  Like many other people, I light up my front garden each Christmas and over more recent years, have kept my back garden lit up all year round too. It is much easier nowadays (and cheaper) with the LED lighting being virtually maintenance-free, lighting architectural features in and around the home can improve aesthetics, enhance security and increase the value of a property.

Local authorities are very much aware of the feel-good atmosphere that illuminations bring to an area and its population. Investment in creative lighting will improve the footfall, in usual circumstances, and the increase in commercial activities is a key factor in improving the local economy. An obvious example of this is the Blackpool tower illuminations which has expanded the commercial value since 1879, creating an attraction that shows festive lighting isn’t just for Christmas.

It's becoming increasingly popular to see structures permanently illuminated with lighting that will change through a sequence of colours or altered to suit, such as the blue illuminations to relay thanks for the NHS workers during COVID-19 and red lighting for Remembrance Day.

In establishing and managing street lighting frameworks for YPO and keeping up to date with all the innovations and applications of lighting, I have found the popularity of LED technology has increased due to their reliability and energy efficiency.

This technology is driving down the capital cost of the installations, making illuminations more attractive by offering a good return for investment.  In addition to this, the subsequent increase in use of an area, due to its improved aesthetics, can also reduce crime.  A recent installation by a local authority, using the latest solar powered LED technology, provided an economic solution as an alternative to the cost of laying a new mains line, connections to each post and the products themselves. This enabled the local authority to provide lighting in a public walkway, which had previously been the scene of serious assaults and anti-social behaviour. 

I was also very interested in a recent webinar that discussed Lighting Public Spaces Post-Pandemic. It explored the use of shadowing in an award winning, art installation, which was used in public spaces in various cities around the world.  The team were able to monitor the different responses of the public including their interaction with the space and an increase in foot-fall due to the popularity the attraction.  Although these were temporary exhibits, the team are now exploring more permanent designs.

We have two highways solutions frameworks that facilitate all exterior electrical installations, supplying products and services. They are our Highway Electrical DPS and our Streetlighting Products and Services Framework.

For more information on YPO’s Highway solutions and how we can help, get in touch with the team!


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