General Lighting Future Future of technology LED

The New Longest-Ever “Smart Tunnel” Lit with LED Lighting

LED Tunnel Lighting Comes to Norway Tunnel

LED lighting has reached another milestonethis time in Norway. The newly opened Toven Tunnel in northern Norway has become the longest tunnel to be completely lit by LED lighting. The tunnel, which links the towns of Leirfjord and Vefsn, opened in November of 2014. It is 10.7 kilometers (6.6 miles) in length, surpassing other tunnels lit by LEDs in China, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Tunnel Features Unique LED-Control System

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) made the decision to use LED lights to improve energy efficiency and adaptability. While energy savings are inherent in LED lights, the NPRA also implemented a unique lighting-control system that adjusts light intensity based on the amount of traffic in the tunnel. Since the Toven Tunnel receives a relatively low amount of traffic, this control system is a tremendous energy-saving attribute. Additionally, daylight sensors will regulate the amount of LED lighting at the beginnings and ends of the tunnel (i.e., the lights will dim according to the brightness of the sun), providing a more seamless visual transition for drivers. It is estimated that these measures will save the Toven Tunnel 70% in energy costs.

Dark Tunnel Exit Needs LED Lighting

Savings in LED Maintenance—Improvements in Tunnel Safety

The NPRA will also save on maintenance costs, as the tunnel’s LED lighting will last about 84% longer than traditional lighting. Since fixing lights in a 10.7-kilometer tunnel is a bit more difficult (and expensive) than changing a light bulb at home, LEDs provide the Toven Tunnel a significant advantage.

LED lighting can also have benefits in more heavily trafficked tunnels where the level of lighting needs to be more consistent. Benefits of LED lighting include reduced glare and a better rendering of colors than traditional lighting, allowing drivers to better see the objects around them. This will likely increase comfort for drivers and reduce the number of accidents.

The issue of LED lighting in tunnels has become so popular that it will be the theme in the first ever Road Tunnel Lighting Conference. The conference will take place in Barcelona on October 8th and 9th.

“Now that there are self-adjusting tunnel lights and plans for smart, interactive highways, do you think the future of transportation is getting safer or more complicated? Are these innovations necessary?” –Dr. Bulb

General Lighting Human Centric Lighting

The Benefits of Human-Centric Lighting

Studies about lighting have traditionally focused on issues such as energy use, cost, and visibility. Only recently have we begun to understand the effect of lighting on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of humankind. The development of lighting technology has exposed humans to unnatural light patterns that interrupt our circadian rhythm (sleeping patterns) and can negatively affect our moods and cognitive abilities.

Big Data Comes to Light Science

While there have been several studies conducted on human-centric lighting (HCL), they have mostly taken place on a small scale. Now researchers are expanding the scope of their observations and have been collecting large amounts of data that can actually quantify the benefits of HCL in environments such as schools, factories, and hospitals.

The lighting industry in Europe has been the first to sponsor this research. Recent studies by LightingEurope, AT Kearney, and the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI) are the first to provide quantitative data on HCL. For example, researchers have analyzed how upgrading old fixtures to HCL can affect worker productivity and electrical costs. They have also reviewed how the use of HCL in medical facilities has increased patient well-being and decreased insurance expenditures.

New Technology Allows for Varied Applications

The new research is assisted by improvements in lighting technology. The development of LED lighting technology enables control over the intensity and color of light. Thanks to digital lighting with LED, wireless connectivity is also possible, which can give individuals the power to set their own light levels, even in crowded settings like an office. Workers can control lighting from a smartphone app to provide light only where it is needed and desired.

Adaptive lighting technology also allows for easier data extraction; fixtures can be equipped with sensors that monitor a room’s occupancy, temperature, humidity, and more. In hospitals, HCL provides increased well-being in patients and new ways to provide optimum care.

HCL to Increase Market Penetration

As the benefits of HCL are discovered and the applicable technologies are perfected, we can expect to see an increased market share for human-centric lighting products. The studies from Europe predict that in the next five years, HCL will have the greatest market penetration in healthcare facilities, followed by offices and schools. Residential use will likely lag behind in the near future.

It was only at the beginning of this century that we started to learn about the benefits of HCL. With new technology and research to help us understand the impact of HCL, we may soon see its large-scale benefits.