Anyone who has ever had the pleasure to visit cities like Prague, Vienna, Leipzig, Rome or Berlin quickly understands what is meant with cultural-historical buildings and city centers in Europe. These cities are a paradise for lovers of history. A walk through the streets and alleys with their diverse architecture collection, such as from Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Gothic, or Art Nouveau, conveys the impression of being in a conscientiously and carefully maintained open-air museum. It is not surprising that these places and buildings are under monumental protection. At first glance, it probably doesn’t give the impression but all these historic places aren’t immune to the rapid technological progress – even though when it comes to modern LED street lighting.
Meeting the market demand doesn’t merely mean to offer energy efficient and durable LED street lighting technology. Meeting the market demand also means to consider the character and authenticity of historic city centers, ensure minimal degradation of irreplaceable architectural artifacts and follow strict heritage conservation requirements.
But the development of LED lighting in recent years also went along with new modern shaped lamps. Visually, they don’t match to the historic cityscapes. Let’s be honest, they significantly detract from the optical overall impression. In order not to cast a negative light on LED technology, the use of such futuristic shaped lamps should be given careful consideration.
Historically shaped lamps are a necessity for a greater social acceptance of LED street lighting
But it doesn’t mean we have to enlighten historic places without first-class technology or take a step back into the past when mercury-vapor or Victorian gas lamps were used frequently. Fortunately, different manufacturers have recognized the potential and added historically styled street lamps with state-of-the-art lighting technology to the product range.
Traditional quarters in the German capital Berlin, for example, were retrofitted with modern efficient lighting in old style. For the districts of Neukölln and Spandau, ancient lanterns were even recreated precisely. The LED illuminants and all other inner parts are made of futuristic technology. The outer shapes are strongly oriented towards historic originals.
The new lighting for the city of Milan, for example, also demonstrates clearly that a switch to LED lighting technology and the protection of cultural and historical heritage aren’t necessarily a contradiction. The center of the city, Piazza del Duomo, with an overall area of 17,000 m2 is still offering its historic Italian flair. This certainly is not at the costs of energy efficiency. The government of Milan confirmed energy savings of about €10 million per year.
In order to protect historic treasures while lowering the public electricity bill, there is no way out in using futuristic lighting technology packed in traditional shapes. Furthermore, visually historic lamps are a necessity for a greater social acceptance of LED street lighting, and thus considerably lower energy consumption and costs.