Turning down the lights

Paris may be the city of lights, but engineers in France are trying a new way to reduce municipal electric bills. Streetlights. Today, on Engineering Works!

It’s not Paris, but people in the French city of Toulouse still like to have their streets lit at night. There’s a problem, though. The city’s electric bills are high and climbing. So they’re trying a new way pedestrians who walk the city’s streets after dark can help. It’s easy. Just keep walking.

What they’re doing is to install sensors in the lampposts that hold up the streetlights. When the sensors detect the body heat of an approaching pedestrian, the light clicks from dim to bright. When the pedestrian moves on – between 500 and 600 yards away – the streetlight dims its light again.

They’re testing the sensor-operated streetlights now, and if it works on a short stretch of mostly residential street, they’re going to start by installing the sensors along a stretch of busy street between the city’s sports stadium and the university campus. If it works there, they plan to take it citywide. They expect to cut electricity consumption by streetlights on busy streets in half.

City administrators across France are watching what happens, and others around the world are watching, too. A group of city council members from Osaka, Japan, visited a while ago to see firsthand how it’s done.

Our streetlights are still shining, so we’ll leave before somebody dims them. See you next time.

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Source: Engineering

Turning down the lights

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