Energies 2015, 8, 976-994; doi:10.3390/en8020976
A Study to Improve the Quality of Street Lighting in Spain
Alberto Gutierrez-Escolar 1,*, Ana Castillo-Martinez 1, Jose M. Gomez-Pulido 1,
Jose-Maria Gutierrez-Martinez 1, Zlatko Stapic 2 and Jose-Amelio Medina-Merodio 1
1 Department of Computer Sciences, Polytechnic School, University of Alcala,
Madrid-Barcelona Road, Km 33.6, Alcala de Henares 28871, Spain;
E-Mails: firstname.lastname@example.org (A.C.-M.); email@example.com (J.M.G.-P.);
firstname.lastname@example.org (J.-M.G.-M.); email@example.com (J.-A.M.-M.)
2 Faculty of Organization and Informatics, University of Zagreb, Pavlinska 2, Varazdin 42000,
Croatia; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: email@example.com;
Tel.: +34-9188-56651; Fax: +34-9188-56646.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Dovì
Received: 24 October 2014 / Accepted: 21 January 2015 / Published: 29 January 2015
Abstract: Street lighting has a big impact on the energy consumption of Spanish municipalities.
To decrease this consumption, the Spanish government has developed two different
regulations to improve energy savings and efficiency, and consequently, reduce
greenhouse-effect gas emissions. However, after these efforts, they have not obtained the
expected results. To improve the effectiveness of these regulations and therefore to optimize
energy consumption, a study has been done to analyze the different devices which influence
energy consumption with the intention of better understanding their behavior and
performance. The devices analyzed were lamps, ballasts, street lamp globes, control systems
and dimmable lighting systems. To improve their performance, they have been analyzed
from three points of view: changes in technology, use patterns and standards. Thanks to this
study, some aspects have been found that could be taken into account if we really wanted to
use energy efficiently.
Keywords: lamps; ballasts; dimmable lighting systems; twilight switch; energy efficiency
Energies 2015, 8 977
Street lighting is an integral part of the municipal environment, promoting comfort, as well as
enhancing the safety and security of its users . This kind of lighting has the greatest impact on energy
consumption in most Spanish municipalities, and may account for up to 80% of the electricity consumed
by municipalities . Furthermore, the average lamp power used in Spain, with an average of 157 W
per lamp, is one of the highest in the European Union, well above the United Kingdom
(76 W) or The Netherlands (61 W) . This is perhaps due to the fact that 20% of street lighting lamps
are based on outdated and inefficient technologies . Table 1 shows the percentage of each kind of
lamp in use in 2007.
Table 1. Percentage of each kind of lamp in some European countries in 2007.
HPM = high pressure mercury; HPS = high pressure sodium; LPS = low pressure sodium; MH = metal halide;
FL = fluorescent; LED= light-emitting diode.
To improve this situation, the Spanish Government put forth the Royal Decree 1890/2008  and its
corresponding Complementary Technical Instructions. Its objectives are: (1) to improve energy savings
and efficiency, and consequently, reduce greenhouse-effect gas emissions; (2) to limit glare and light
pollution; and (3) to reduce intrusive or annoying light levels. Moreover a strategy, known as the Energy
Saving and Efficiency Strategy (E4) was also defined , which established a series of standard actions
aimed at improving the energy system. The target set in this Plan was to achieve a consumption of
75 kWh per inhabitant per year. Its main measures were: (1) to establish a program of replacement of
existing external public lighting equipment, based on obsolete technologies, with other more up-to-date
and efficient equipment; (2) implementation of energy audits; and (3) to set up and run energy training
courses for municipal technicians and the maintenance managers of municipal installations.
Sanchez de Miguel , who defined a procedure to estimate the energy consumption in public electric
lighting in Spain from 1992 to 2012, came to the conclusion that the most populated provinces appeared
to have begun to stabilize the growth of their expenditure on public lighting, but that this had no occurred
in the less populated provinces where this expense continued to rise at a similar rate despite the economic
crisis. The general trend of Spain during the last eighteen years had been one of nearly constant growth.
One of the purposes defined by the strategy was to promote the use of more efficient equipment.
Analysing the lighting level control devices installed in the Community of Andalusia, for example, it is
possible to observe that 64% of the installations do not have voltage regulators . This sort of devices
allows the amount of energy consumed to be reduced when the conditions are appropriate, for example
when the number of vehicles does not exceed some predetermined quantity.
Neither of the regulations mentioned before have obtained the expected results. To help with this
issue, the aim of this manuscript is to detect any aspects that the previous regulations might have
overlooked. These aspects have been analysed form the point of view of energy efficiency and energy
consumption. If these new considerations were to be included in future updated versions of the
Energies 2015, 8 978
regulations, we are sure that the quality of street lighting would be similar to the standards of other
European countries which are doing quite well in this area. The remainder of this paper is organized as
follows: Section 2 presents the related work, Section 3 describes the main elements of our study and
finally Section 4 contains the conclusions.
2. Related Work
The related work is divided into two parts: the first part analyses the different proposals to measure
energy efficiency and the second part shows the strengths of some foreign street lighting standards. There
are only a few European countries that have provisions addressing the energy efficiency of the whole
street lighting system, among them Spain and The Netherlands . Hence, the first part shows the
different methodologies used to measure the energy efficiency. The way proposed by the Slovenian
government in 2007  consisted in measuring the annual energy consumption per citizen per year.
The main disadvantage of this proposal is that for areas with high population density it is easier to achieve
lower level values than for areas with low population density. Another way was presented by Silva ,
who developed a tool which can assess street lighting performance in the context of energy efficiency.
This tool uses three indicators: one to evaluate lighting performance and two others to evaluate energy
performance, one being luminaire coverage and efficiency and the other lighting control devices.
The only shortcoming of this tool is that the score used for lighting control devices has only two
values—zero or one—depending on whether the installation has (one) or does not have (zero) this kind
of devices. In the research carried out by Pracki , a new classification system based on the installed
and normalised power densities was proposed. Although he claimed that energy consumption depends
on the burning hours, he did not take that into account in his proposal. Different criteria were used in a
German road lighting competition , where the energy efficiency of the street lighting was defined as
the amount of energy consumption per kilometre per year in kWh/(km × Y), and the energy used (kWh)
to produce a certain luminous flux over time. Besides, in the research carried out by Kyba  the same
definition of efficiency in urban street lighting (kilowatt hours per kilometre per year) was also proposed
because this measure allows assessment of all the elements that influence energy consumption. For the
case of Spain , energy efficiency is based on the lit-up surface, average illuminance and the total
active power installed.
There are a lot of options to define energy efficiency, but it seems to be impossible to use just one
measure to describe the energy efficiency of street lighting systems , although all of them have the
same goal of reducing the energy consumption without sacrificing the visibility conditions and comfort.
This article is focused on the main devices which influence energy consumption with the purpose of
improving the energy efficiency considering the current Spanish regulations.
The second part shows the strengths of different street lighting standards compared with the
Spanish Regulation already implemented. The Technical Regulation of Lighting and Street Lighting
(RETILAP)  from Colombia incorporates a section to establish the coexistence between luminaires
and trees. The Public Lighting Design Manual from Hong Kong  defines the design layout
(single-sided, staggered, opposite and twin-central) regarding the mounting height of the luminaire.
Another strength of this Manual is that it defines the distance between luminaires and fire hydrants in
order to not to block their operation. Minnesota’s Energy Law  establishes that a lamp with initial
Energies 2015, 8 979
efficiency less than 70 lumens per watt must be replaced when worn out by light sources using lamps
with initial efficiency of at least 70 lumens per watt. The Spanish regulations established that the new
lamps shall have an initial efficiency of at least 65 lumens per watt.
3. Main Elements
An analysis of the main elements is necessary to understand how each component affects the final
energy consumption. These elements are divided as follows: lamps, ballast, street lamp globes, hours of
operation, lighting level control devices and renewable energies. To be sure about their involvement in
the final energy consumption, each component was studied individually. Then, after studying how each
component influences the final energy, different criteria to save energy were established. According to
Boyce , there are four options to save energy: changes in technology, in patterns of use, standards
and basis of design, but from our point of view, changes to the basis of design require a careful
reconsideration of what such lighting is for and how it might best be achieved, so each element was
studied excluding the fourth option.
There is no doubt that lamps are the most representative component of street lighting. There are
several types of lamps on the market which can be used on this kind of installation, including, among
others, high pressure mercury (HPM), high pressure sodium (HPS), low pressure sodium (LPS), metal
halide (MH) and light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. At present, in street lighting applications, HPS and
MH lamps are the most widely used light sources. LEDs are fast developing light sources and are
considered a promising light source for general lighting, although this kind of source on the market is
not that cheap yet. Currently, HPS lamps are the dominant light source used in road lighting because of
the long lamp lifetime and high luminous efficacy. MH lamps offer high luminous efficacy and good
color rendering properties .
There are two different options to save energy in the case of lamps: changing the standards and
changing the technology; for example, the British Standard BS 5489  allows reducing the required
lighting class when the color rendering index (CRI) of the lamp is higher than 60 (white light) .
On the other hand, the Hong Kong regulations only allow reducing it if the lamp has a CRI equal to or
greater than 80 . This reduction is only permitted on subsidiary roads. If the current Spanish standard
took into account this reduction, the illuminance level would be reduced by at least 25%. Table 2 shows
the reduction of illuminance level.
Analysing Table 2, we notice that there are two more lighting classes in the British standard than in
the Spanish standard. These lighting classes are S5 and S6. In this respect, we must agree with the Royal
Decree because 40% of night-time street crime occurs when lighting levels are at 5 lux or
below . Before recommending the incorporation of this advantage into the Spanish standard, it is
necessary to be sure that this change does not decrease the quality of the installations. There are several
researches that confirm the benefits of white light. One of them is the study conducted by Godfrey ,
who concluded that driver reactions with cool white light are more efficient than with “warm”
Energies 2015, 8 980
Table 2. Illuminance savings by reducing lighting class.
Lewis  also reported the results of reaction time tests where detection of a pedestrian was
conducted using MH, HPM, HPS and LPS. He found an approximately 50% increase in reaction time
for sodium sources versus MH, at a luminance level of 0.1 cd/sq.m. At a relatively high lighting level of
1 cd/sq.m, he reported an increase in reaction time of approximately 15% of HPS versus MH, and 25%
for LPS versus MH. In our opinion, there are several evidences that prove the benefits of the white light
yet the current Spanish Standard does not include it. This should be incorporated in order to improve the
Related to changes in the technology, it is necessary to guarantee that these changes do not decrease
the amount of light output. The best parameter to compare two kinds of lamps without decreasing the
luminous flux is the luminous efficacy of the lamp. This parameter is the quotient luminous flux emitted
by the power consumed by the source, unit lumen per Watt . Table 3 shows the main features of the
different kinds of lamps.
Table 3. Main features of the different kind of lamps.
Luminous efficacy (lum/W)
Colour rendering index (CRI)
Luminous efficacy is also used by the Spanish regulations , where the minimum values specified
is 65 lum/W. As it can be seen in Table 3, HPM lamps do not comply with the requirements, so it does
not make sense for this kind of lamp to appear in the Spanish standard. In the case that lighting designers
wanted to change the kind of lamp, they may follow this criterion because it is possible to find lamps
with the same or higher luminous flux and less power consumption. For example, by simply replacing
common bulbs with energy-saving LED lamps one can reduce energy consumption by up to 80% .
All kinds of lamps require a ballast to operate correctly. For this reason, the presence of this device
in street lighting systems is indispensable to ignite the discharge and control the lamp. Ballast devices
can be divided mainly into two types: electromagnetic and electronic. Electronic ballasts are considered
more energy efficient than electromagnetic ballasts, and for this reason they have been promoted as
replacements the latter, to the point that some countries have changed their regulations to encourage their
Energies 2015, 8 981
use. Other advantages are that electronic ballasts produce no flicker effects and provide an instantaneous
startup . Due to the fact that electromagnetic ballasts have high power loss from the iron and copper
losses in the magnetic choke, they are 10%–15% less efficient than electronic ballasts [29,30]. To verify
that the power of electronic ballasts is lower than that of electromagnetic ballasts, different ballasts were
studied of Philips . Table 4 shows the power savings for two different LPS lamp powers.
Table 4. Power savings using electronic ballasts with LPS lamps.
Lamp type & power (W)
Electromagnetic ballast power (W)
Electronic ballast power (W)
1 × SOX 35 W
1 × SOX 55 W
These power savings are under nominal conditions and although they might be considered
insignificant, they should be taken into account because the power saving percentage in the case of a
55 W SOX is 18%. To analyze the benefit of this replacement under normal conditions, the research
carried out by Omar  was studied. They examined the energy consumption of 277 units of
250 W HPS for a month. The energy consumption with electromagnetic ballasts was 30,913.2 kWh and
the energy used with electronic ballasts was 20,172.7 kWh. Therefore in this case the energy saving was
34.74%. Besides, there are other researchers that have studied the benefits regarding the supply voltage.
A good example is the research done by Dolora , who studied the savings for HPS 150 W lamps.
This research concluded that the supply voltage bears on in the final energy consumption.
Table 5 shows the power variation regarding the supply voltage.
Table 5. Power variation between electronic and electromagnetic ballasts .
As it can be seen, when the supply voltage is 250 V, the percentage of power variation is 24.4%,
this means that the luminaire power can vary by up to 49.9 W. The problem with the Royal Decree 
is that it only specifies the maximum power per luminaire, when in our opinion the maximum ballast
power should be specified because designers sometimes are not aware if the kind of ballast that satisfies
the requirements. Table 6 shows a good example.
Table 6. Luminaire power for different kind of ballasts.
Maximum lamp power
allowed (R.D 1890) 
Lamp power plus
electromagnetic ballast (W)
Lamp power plus electronic
ballast power (W)
1 × SOX 35 W
1 × SOX 55 W
Energies 2015, 8 982
As it can be appreciated, lighting designers must pay attention when choosing the ballast because
although the maximum power is defined, the luminaire power must be checked because in the analyzed
case the installation of electromagnetic ballasts would not satisfy the minimum requirements.
3.3. Street Lamp Globes
Although people believe that street lamp globes do not influence energy consumption, the choice of
this part is very important because it influences the upward reflected light and thereby light pollution.
Light pollution is not simply any astronomical or ecological light pollution, because enormous amounts
of energy are wasted with light pollution. For example, at the end of the 1990s the amount of sky glow
over Sapporo, Japan was equivalent to 15 million kWh of energy, 29 million kWh over London, UK and
38 million kWh over Paris, France . The total amount used for public outdoor lighting in Helsinki,
Finland is roughly 170 million kWh, meaning that all Helsinki could be illuminated with just five days
of the “waste light” of Paris. The light sent upward is thus estimated to produce economic losses worth
billions of euros every year . The best option to save energy regarding the light pollution is by
changing standards. The current Croatian regulation establishes lower levels than the Spanish regulations.
Table 7 compares the maximum upward light ratio of the installation (ULR) for Croatia  and Spain .
Table 7. Maximum percentage of ULR for Croatia and Spain.
Maximum ULR (%)
Maximum ULR (%)
As it can be appreciated, the maximum percentage of ULR in Spain is higher than in Croatia.
Although Croatia is not the country with the strictest regulations, in our opinion the Spanish regulation
should incorporate at least the minimum level established in the Croatian rules.
The Chilean D.S.N° 686/98 regulation  defines that a lamp with a luminous flux equal to or less
than 15,000 Lm cannot emit more than 0.8% of its nominal flux above horizontal level when installed
in a luminaire. Lamps with a luminous flux of more than 15,000 Lm should not emit more than 1.8%
of their nominal flux above horizontal level when installed in a luminaire.
In 2007 Slovenia adopted a law (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 81/2007) aimed at
tackling light pollution. The law requires that 0% of the output of a luminaire should shine above the
horizon (90°) .
To analyze how ULR influences this kind of installation, several simulations were done with the
DIALux software. The analysis consisted in studying what happens if the luminaire has the
same kind of lamp and the street lighting globes are different. The model of the studied luminaire was
the CitySpirit Modern (Philips, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), the street lighting globes were four
and the kind of lamp was LED. Figure 1 shows the average illuminance regarding the ULR for
22 X XR-E-PE/WW, 22 X XR-E-Q3/NW and 22 X XR-E-Q5/CW lamps.
Energies 2015, 8 983
Figure 1. Illuminance regarding the ULR.
As it can be seen for this luminaire model, if the ULR increases, the average illuminance decreases,
but the lamp power and the lit-up surface were the same for the three simulations, therefore the energy
efficiency bears upon the ULR. Another model of lamp analyzed was the Urbana (Philips) and again
ULR was studied and the same performance can be appreciated, the street lighting globes were two in
this case and the lamp was an HPL-N80W. Table 8 shows the results.
Table 8. ULR regarding the street lamp globes.
It is possible to think that as the system flux is higher in the second option than in the first option, the
average illuminance would be higher than the first one, but the reality is that as this sort of street lighting
globes does not have any device to avoid the light pollution, and thus the average illuminance is lower
than in the first case. From our point of view, ULR magnitude should be taken into account for the
energy label, because with the current systems only assess the illuminance on the lit-up surface.
3.4. Hours of Operation
The current Spanish standard  includes three possible devices for that purpose: astronomic time
switches, twilight switches and remote management systems for electrical boards. Astronomic time
switches turns lights on and off with a fixed time offset from sunrise and sunset. To estimate the daily
hours of sunrise and sunset the latitude and longitude are needed because of the movement of the Sun,
as it can be seen on the sunrise sunset calculator program tool .
Twilight switches measure the amount of natural light available to turn on and off the lamps regarding
this level. As happens with astronomic time switches, it is possible to establish an approximation of the
number of burning hours using the latitude and the level of natural light required to turn the system on
or off . An option to decrease the hours of operation and therefore to save energy with this kind of
Energies 2015, 8 984
device is by changing the use pattern. Angus Council (U.K.)  studied the trimming of photocells; the
factory setting of the switch on/switch off levels are 70 lux on and 35 lux off (70/35). By reducing the
switch ratio to 35/18 they could typically save 92 burning hours per year per luminaire. The Institution
of Lighting Professionals (ILP)  estimated that if the switching levels were reduced 35/16, a saving
of 1%–2% per luminaire could be achieved. This regulation is not recommended for older lamp types
such as LPS and HPM operating on conventional ballasts. Such installations should be operated at
70 lux on and 35 lux off as a minimum to allow the lamps to fully run up by the time the lighting is
required. The only drawback of the previous studies is that they did not specify the latitude. This lack of
information was solved in the study carried out by American Electric Lighting (AEL)  because the
latitude was taken into account in the results. Table 9 shows the hours of operation at latitude 35°
(Los Angeles, California) for various photocell settings.
Table 9. Hours of operation regarding the twilight settings .
Hours of operation
Remote management systems are composed by a server-client architecture system for monitoring,
detecting, controlling and communicating problems instantly to a central control room or directly to
maintenance technicians . Telemanagement integration in street lighting networks of small cities has
hardly been developed both in a conceptual and applicative way, especially due to limited economical
resources of local communities which have become responsible for too many new tasks, public
illumination being one of them .
The hours of operation depend on these devices which also consume energy. Analyzing the data
of the manufacturer ORBIS , it can be appreciated that the power consumptions are very similar
independently of the kind of device. Table 10 shows the power consumption.
Table 10. Power consumption of street lighting control systems.
ASTRO NOVA CITY
As each device uses different technology and criteria to turn on and off, the hours of operation
established for each device will be different. We have measured the natural light level during different
Energies 2015, 8 985
days with the purpose of understanding the operation of each device. Figure 2a shows the natural light
level several days at sunrise and Figure 2b shows the natural light level of several days at sunset, where
the data of both figures were measured in Madrid (Spain) in September 2014. A PCE-174 (ORBIS)
digital illuminance meter was used to obtain the data.
Figure 2. Natural light level during the sunrise (a); and during the sunset (b) in Madrid.
As it can be seen, the tendency is different for each day because of the weather conditions are different
and therefore climate bears upon the natural light levels. In that aspect we agree with Howell  that
the weather conditions are even more significant than latitude in determining days. Hence the main
drawback of astronomic time switches is that they do not take into account the real level of natural light.
Besides, analyzing in detail the data of the previous trimming, Table 11 shows the time when the natural
light reached a certain value. It can be seen, trimming the photocells allows decreased the hours of
operation, while on the other hand natural light level reached 35 lux twice on 21 September. This issue
is the main problem of photocells because undulations in light level can cause erratic operation, but this
can be solved with the controller.
Table 11. Time when the natural light reached a certain value.
19 September 2014
20 September 2014
21 September 2014
20:24 and 20:27
22 September 2014
23 September 2014
As it can be seen, photocell trimming could save approximately 4 min per day. This means that the
amount of burning hours may reduce by 24 per year.
Energies 2015, 8 986
3.5. Lighting Level Control Devices
There are three different types of level control devices contemplated in the Spanish standard :
series inductive type ballasts for dual power level, power controlled electronic ballasts and regulators
and stabilizers in the head of the line.
The main problem of using ballasts for dual power levels is that these systems act locally, requiring
an adjustment device attached to each of the individual charges and also a general control system to
control all of them . Regulators and stabilizers are able to control the voltage according to different
parameters such as number of vehicles per hour , weather conditions or the presence of
pedestrians . Their operation consists of hanging the input mains voltage to a variable voltage within
the range from 220 to 170 V . Those changes are accompanied by variations of illuminance and
lamp power. Figure 3 shows the working of these sort of systems, where it can be seen their potential on
The main advantage of stabilizer lighting systems is that they are able to avoid overvoltage situations.
The research carried out in China  showed how, despite the fact the nominal voltage is established
at 230 V like in Spain, it reached values as high as 246 V. This overvoltage situation is the main reason
for the shortened lifetime of lamps.
Figure 3. Regulator and stabilizer devices.
Taking into account that the energy savings depend on input voltage, it is necessary to define the
input voltage in order to satisfy the minimum luminous flux level allowed. According to Bacelar ,
the minimum luminous flux level should be established at 50%, because it was shown that this dimming
does not seem to have a great influence to the visibility of observers nor drivers. Furthermore this
minimum level coincides with the current standard . Following the recommendations of General
Electric , the minimum voltage regarding the kind of lamp is shown in Table 12.
Table 12. Minimum voltage regarding the kind of lamp according to GE .
Kind of lamp
Minimum voltage (Vac)
Energies 2015, 8 987
Analyzing in detail the research conducted by Yan , who studied the characteristics of HPS lamps
of 50, 70, 100, 150, 250 and 400 W dimming the voltage. It can be observed that the percentage of light
output decreases more than 50% for 180 Vac in the case of HPS and MH. Figure 4 shows the percentage
of light output for the case of 50 and 70 W HPS lamps.
Figure 4. Lamp power, light output and minimum voltage for HPS lamps (50 and 70 W).
Therefore the minimum voltages showed in Table 12 are not completely right because they do not
satisfy the minimum requests impose by the current standard. In our opinion the minimum voltage for
each kind of lamp should be the values shown in Table 13.
Table 13. Minimum voltage to decrease the light output 50%.
Kind of lamp
Minimum voltage (Vac)
Decrease luminosity flux (%)
From our point of view, the unique shortcoming of Spanish standard  regarding lighting level
control devices is that it does not specify when it can be used. If we followed the recommendations of
the Dutch ministry, dimmable road lighting systems could operate at 20% when the density of traffic at
night is low, at 100% when the traffic density is high and 200% when there is a combination of high
traffic density and exceptional conditions such as fog. The conclusions were that 20% light level has no
negative safety effects and is sufficient for low traffic density but 200% light level is not justified because
the cost is high and the safety improvements are marginal at best . Another project  also
investigated the effect of dimming, the lighting level setting were determined as follows; 100% when there
are more than 3000 vehicles per hour, 75% when the range of vehicles is 3000–1500 and 50% when the
number of vehicles per hour is lower than 1500. Following both projects and observing the behavior of
Spanish roads, Figure 5 shows the number of vehicles per hour of a road in the Community of Murcia.
Energies 2015, 8 988
Figure 5. Number of vehicles per hour in a road from the Community of Murcia .
As it can be seen, lighting level control devices can operate perfectly from 1:00 am to 5:00 am,
because the number of vehicles decreases considerably. In this aspect, the Croatian normative 
specifies that if the local government does not prescribe a schedule, the street lighting must be turned
off or reduced by 50% at least at 1:00 am. In our opinion, it should be mandatory within the Spanish
normative that lighting level control devices reduce the light levels at least from 1:00 am, because most
of the time the conditions allow it.
3.6. Renewable Energies
The global necessity for energy savings requires the usage of renewable sources in many applications
and outdoor lighting installations are no exception. Spain, owing to its location and climate, is one of the
countries in Europe with the most abundant solar resources . Global solar irradiation on a horizontal
plane is estimated as being between 1.48 and 3.56 kW/m2 day in Spain.
The solar energy option may be the best solution in the case of an autonomous street lighting system
because of the long life time, easy installation and modularity . This sort of renewable energy allows
reducing the CO2 emissions considerably and thus the energy consumption. A good example of the
benefits of solar energy in street lighting is the research carried out by Nunoo , who achieved energy
savings per day of 603 kWh. Analysing in detail the research carried out by Constantinos ,
who optimized a photovoltaic system for street lighting, the total autonomous days of operation may
reach up to 315 per year. In other words, in this case the energy savings were about 86%.
On the other hand, maintenance of the photovoltaic panels is very important, because dust effects
reduce the performance of solar panels. The research carried out by Al-Almmri  shows that the losses
of the output power of the fixed solar panel can reach 26% for one month. As well, their orientation can
cause a considerable loss of efficiency. Likewise, the slope of the panel should be changed two to four
times a year to maximize the solar absorption, since the optimum slope in the summer is not the same as
the optimum one in the winter . These drawbacks can be solved with regular maintenance.
Outdoor lighting can be supplied with other kinds of renewable sources or even a combination of
several types of renewable sources like the research performed by Al-Fatlawi , who combined solar
and wind energy. Power systems which include photovoltaic systems and wind turbines typically include
Energies 2015, 8 989
energy storage devices so that loads can be operated when solar energy is not available or when wind
velocities are too low to generate power .
Nowadays, renewable energies are indispensable to satisfy the normative for buildings, however
the Royal Decree  overlooks this subject in the field of street lighting. Previous research shows that
the incorporation of solar energy for street lighting is an incredible opportunity to reduce energy
consumption and improve the quality.
Following the completion of this paper, this study has shown some aspects that they should be
incorporated into the Spanish Standards to improve the quality of street lighting. The related work allows
us to know that there are other important aspects that the Spanish normative does not contemplate, such as
the minimum distance between luminaires and trees, or the minimum distance between luminaires and fire
hydrants. These recommendations could be considered irrelevant but any step forward makes headway.
Regarding lamps, white light is a new concept that benefits when lamps have a color rendering index
higher than 60. The incorporation of this subject could reduce the illuminance level at least 25% for
subsidiary roads. This advantage has been incorporated within the British Standard and in Hong Kong,
now it is the time for Spain. Furthermore, we have noted that the British Standard considers two more
lighting classes than the Spanish Standard.
In relation to ballasts has been corroborated that electronic ballasts consume less energy than
electromagnetic ones. Although this power saving may be considered insignificant, the example
analyzed obtained a power savings of 18% regarding the luminaire power with electromagnetic ballast.
The weakness of the Spanish standard is that it only specifies the maximum luminaire power. Hence
designers must take into account the choice of the kind of ballast because although the maximum power
is defined, it is very easy exceed the maximum luminaire power value.
Concerning light pollution, Spain is not very strict and should be more rigorous. The simulations done
with DIALux verify that ULR bears upon the illuminance and therefore if the Spanish regulation were
stricter regarding light pollution, street lighting systems would improve in quality.
Related to hours of operation each device works using a different technology and therefore the
hours of operation are different in each device. Moreover, it has been corroborated thanks to the measures of
natural light using a digital illuminance meter that weather conditions are even more significant than latitude
in determining days. The recommended trimmings have been corroborated and photocell trimming may save
24 h per year. This action allows one to decrease the energy consumption while maintaining good service.
Finally, the benefits of lighting level control devices is shown, while on the other hand it is required
to be careful with the input voltage value because if the trimming is too low, the illuminance would not
satisfy the minimum requirements and could affect the visibility of drivers and observers. Moreover
1:00 am to 5:00 am was defined from as the best period to use them. We wish to highlight that the
Spanish normative should encourage the use of renewable energies for street lighting.
The authors want to thank the effort and the support that the Ferrovial Company deposited in the
Department of Computer Sciences for the Ciudad 2020 project. Besides, we are grateful to PCE Iberica
Energies 2015, 8 990
S.L. for the donation of the digital illuminance meter (PCE-174) and acknowledge the help of the people
who revised the English language of this manuscript.
Alberto Gutierrez-Escolar has contributed to the sections on lamps and renewable energies,
Ana Castillo-Martinez has developed the ballast section, Jose Maria Gutierrez-Martinez has developed
the hours of operations section and Jose M. Gomez-Pulido has obtained the natural light data and finally
Zlatko Stapic has been the person in charge of finding the differences between the Spanish Standard and
the rest of the regulations. Jose-Amelio Medina-Merodio has contributed to the section on street lamps
globes. All the authors were involved in preparing the manuscript.
Color Rendering Index
High Pressure Mercury
High Pressure Sodium
Low Pressure Sodium
Upward Light Ratio
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
1. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). How to Guide to
Effective Energy-Efficient Street Lighting. Available online: http://www.rpi.edu/dept/lrc/nystreet/
how-to-officials.pdf (accessed on 5 January 2015).
2. Elejoste, P.; Angulo Perallos, A.; Chertudi, A.; Zuazola, I.J.G.; Moreno, A.; Azpilicueta, L.;
Astrain, J.J.; Falcone, F.; Villadangos, J. An easy to deploy street light control system based on
wireless communication and LED technology. Sensors 2013, 13, 6492–6523.
3. Sanchez de Miguel, A. Differential photometry study of the European Light Emission to the space.
In Proceedings of the World Conference in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the
Stars, La Palma, Spain, 20–23 April 2007; pp. 379–383.
4. Van Tichelen, P.; Geerken, T.; Jansen, M.; vanden Bosch, M.; van Hoof, V.; vanhooydonck, L.;
Vercalsteren, A. Final Report Lot 9: Public Street Lighting. Available online: http://amper.ped.
muni.cz/jhollan/light/EuP/VITOEuPStreetLightingFinal.pdf (accessed on 5 January 2015).
5. Royal Decree 1890/2008. Regulation in outdoor lighting installations and their complementary
instructions EA-01 and EA-07. Available online: https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2008/11/19/pdfs/
A45988-46057.pdf (accessed on 5 January 2015).
Energies 2015, 8 991
6. Estrategia de ahorro y eficiencia energética en España; Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio:
Madrid, Spain, 2011. (In Spanish)
7. Sanchez de Miguel, A.; Zamorano, J.; Gomez Castaño, J.; Pascual, S. Evolution of the
energy consumed by street lighting in Spain estimated with DMSP-OLS data. J. Quant. Spectrosc.
Radiat. Transf. 2014, 139, 109–117.
8. Agencia Andaluza de la Energía. Guía de Ahorro y Eficiencia Energética en Municipios.
Available online: http://www.agenciaandaluzadelaenergia.es/sites/default/files/guia_de_ahorro_y_
eficiencia_energxtica_web_def1.pdf (accessed on 5 January 2015). (In Spanish)
9. European Commission. Green Public Procurement Street Lighting and Traffic Lights Technical
Background Report. European Commission, DG Environment-C1, BU 9, 1160 Brussels, 2011.
Available online: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/pdf/tbr/street_lighting_tbr.pdf (accessed on
5 January 2015).
10. Bizjak, G.; Kobav, M.B. Consumption of electrical energy for public lighting in Slovenia.
In Proceedings of the 5th ILUMINAT, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 20 February 2009.
11. Silva, J.; Mendes, J.F.; Silva, L.T. Assessment of energy efficiency in street lighting design.
WIT Trans. Ecol. Environ. 2010, 129, 705–715.
12. Pracki, P. A proposal to classify road lighting energy efficiency. Light. Res. Technol. 2011, 43,
13. Bundeswetbewerb. Energieeffiziente Stadtbeleuchtung. Available online: http://www.
bundeswettbewerb-stadtbeleuchtung.de/ (accessed on 5 January 2015).
14. Kyba, C.C.M.; Hänel, A.; Hölker, F. Redefining efficiency for outdoor lighting. Energy Environ. Sci.
2014, 7, 1806–1809.
15. Stockmar, A. Energy efficiency measures for outdoor lighting. Light Eng. 2011, 19, 15.
16. Ministerio de Minas y Energía. Anexo General. Reglamento Técnico de Iluminación y Alumbrado
Público; RETILAP: Colombia, 2010. Available online: http://www.minminas.gov.co/minminas/
downloads/archivosSoporteRevistas/7853.pdf (accessed on 5 January 2015). (In Spanish)
17. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Public Lighting Design
Manual. Available online: http://www.oshc.org.hk/others/bookshelf/WB112003E.pdf (accessed on
5 January 2015).
18. Roadway Lighting Design Manual; Minnesota Department of Transportation: Saint Paul, MN,
USA, May 2006.
19. Boyce, P.R.; Fotios, S.; Richards, M. Road lighting and energy saving. Light. Res. Technol. 2009,
20. Simpson, R.S. Lighting Control: Technology and Applications; Focal Press: Oxford, UK, 2003.
21. British Standard Institution (BSI). BS 5489-1:2003, Code of Practice for Design of Road
Lighting—Part 1: Lighting of Roads and Public Amenity Areas; BSI: London, UK, 2003.
22. Fotios, S.; Goodman, T. Proposed UK guidance for lighting in residential roads. Light. Res. Technol.
2012, 44, 69–83.
23. Australian Capital Territory Government (ACT) Crime Prevention & Urban Design. Resource
Manual. Available online: http://apps.actpla.act.gov.au/tplan/planning_register/register_docs/
resmanual.pdf (accessed on 5 January 2015).
Energies 2015, 8 992
24. Bridger, G.; King, B. Lighting the way to road safety: A policy blindspot? In Proceedings of
the Australian Road Safety Research Policing Education Conference, Wellington, New Zealand,
4–6 October 2012.
25. Lewin, I.; Box, P.C.; Stark, R.E. Roadway Lighting: An Investigation and Evaluation of Three
Different Light Sources. Available online: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/24000/24600/24606/AZ522.pdf
(accessed on 5 January 2015).
26. Murphy, J.T.W. Maximum spectral luminous efficacy of white light. J. Appl. Phys. 2012, 111, 104909.
27. Mullner, R.; Riener, A. An energy efficient pedestrian aware Smart Street Lighting system. Int. J.
Pervasive Comput. Communi. 2011, 7, 147–161.
28. Chung, H.H.; Ho, N.M.; Yan, W.; Tam, P.W.; Hui, S.Y. Comparison of dimmable electromagnetic
and electronic ballast systems—an assessment on energy efﬁciency and lifetime. IEEE Trans.
Ind. Electron. 2007, 54, 3145–3154.
29. Gil-de-Castro, A.; Moreno-Munoz, A.; de la Rosa, J.J.G.; Arias, J.F.; Pallares-Lopez, V. Study of
harmonic generated by electromagnetic and electronic ballast used in Street Lighting. In Proceedings
of the International Symposium on Industrial Electronics (ISIE), Gdansk, Poland, 27–30 June 2011;
30. Gil-de-Castro, A.; Moreno-Munoz, A.; Larsson, A.; de la Rosa, J.J.G.; Bollen, M.H.J. LED street
lighting: A power quality comparison among street light technologies. Light. Res. Technol. 2013,
31. Philips. Available online: http://www.ecat.lighting.philips.es/l/ (accessed on 5 January 2015).
32. Omar, M.H.; Rahman, H.A.; Majid, M.S.; Rosmin, N.; Hassan, M.Y.; Omar, W.W. Design and
simulation of electronic ballast performance for high pressure sodium street lighting. Light. Res.
Technol. 2013, 45,729–739.
33. Dolara, A.; Faranda, R.; Guzzetti, S.; Leva, S. Power quality in public lighting systems. In
Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Harmonics and Quality of Power (ICHQP),
Bergamo, Italy, 26–29 September 2010; pp. 1–7.
34. Isobe, S.L.; Hamamura, S. Light pollution and its energy loss. Astrophys. Space Sci. 2000, 273,
35. City of Helsinki. Kaupungin Valot: Helsingin Valaistuksen Kaupunkikuvalliset Periaatteet
(In Finnish) City Lights: Urban Principles of the Lighting of Helsinki. City of Helsinki: Helsinki,
Finland, 2003. Available online: http://www.hel.fi/static/rakvv/kaupungin_valot.pdf (accessed on
5 January 2015).
36. Nacrt prijedloga uredbe o standardima upravljanja rasvijetljenošću s konačnim prijedlogom
uredbe (In Croatian). In The Proposal of Act on Standards in Lightning Management with Final
Proposal of the Act (In English); Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection: Zagreb, Croatia,
37. D.S. N° 686/98 Norma de emisión para la regulación de la contaminación lumínica. Available
de%20Calidad/DS86CONTAMINACIONLUMINICA.pdf (accessed on 5 January 2015).
38. Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia no. 81/2007. Available online: http://www.uradni-
list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=200781&stevilka=4162%20 (accessed on 5 January 2015).
39. SunriseSunset. Available from: http://www.sunrisesunset.com (accessed on 5 January 2015).
Energies 2015, 8 993
40. Howell, E.K. Photoelectric controls for street lights. Electr. Eng. 1961, 80, 780–785.
41. Angus Council. Infrastructure service committee 19 April 2011, CHRISTMAS LIGHTING—
PREPARATION FOR 2011 DISPLAYS; REPORT NO 292/11. Available online:
http://archive.angus.gov.uk/ccmeetings/reports-committee2011/Infrastructure/292.pdf (accessed on
27 January 2014).
42. Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP). Street Lighting—Invest to Save, reduction or Removal
of Street Lighting—Interim Advice Note LB1. Available online: https://www.theilp.org.uk/
documents/street-lighting-invest-to-save/ (accessed on 5 January 2015).
43. American Electric Lighting (AEL). Lighting system cost impacted by photocontrol choice. Available
(accessed on 5 January 2015).
44. Baenziger, T.D. Effective lighting control system for public spaces. Light Eng. 2007, 15, 45–52.
45. Popa, M.; Cepisca, C. Energy consumption saving solutions based on intelligent street lighting
control system, U.P.B. Sci. Bull. Ser. C 2011, 73, 297–308.
46. ORBIS. Available online: http://www.orbis.es/inicio.aspx?inPkyIdi=2 (accessed on 5 January 2015).
47. Blanquez, F.R.; Rebollo, E.; Blanquez, F.; Platero, C.A.; Frias, P. High efficiency voltage regulator
and stabilizer for outdoor lighting installations. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference
on Optimization of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (OPTIM), Brasov, Romania, 24–26 May
2012; pp. 136–142.
48. Moghadam, M.H.; Mozayani, N. a street lighting control system based on holonic structures and
traffic system. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Computer Research and
Development (ICCRD), Shanghai, China, 11–13 March 2011; pp. 92–96.
49. Zotos, N.; Stergiopoulos, C.; Anastasopoulos, K.; Bogdos, G.; Pallis, E.; Skianis, C. Case study of
a dimmable outdoor lighting system with intelligent management and remote control. In Proceedings
of the International Conference on Telecommunications and Multimedia (TEMU), Chania, Crete,
Greece, 30 July 2012; pp. 43–48.
50. Yan, W.; Hui, S.Y.R.; Chung, H.H. Energy saving of large-scale high-intensity-discharge lamp
lighting networks using a central reactive power control system. IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron. 2009,
51. Chung, H.S.H.; Ho, N.M.; Hui, S.Y.R.; Mai, W.Z. Case study of a highly-reliable dimmable road
lighting system with intelligent remote control. In Proceedings of the European Conference on
Power Electronics and Application, Dresden, Germany, 11–14 September 2005.
52. Bacelar, A. The influence of dimming in road lighting on the visibility of drivers. J. Light.
Vis. Environ. 2005, 29, 44–49.
53. GE Energy Industrial Solutions. Available online: http://www.gepowercontrols.com/es/resources/
literature_library/catalogs/downloads/GRADILUX_cat_Spain_ed01-12_4659.pdf (accessed on
5 January 2015).
54. Van Hoek, K.T. Dutch approach to energy efficient street lighting. In Proceedings of the 8th
European Lighting Conference Lux Europa, Amsterdam, The Netherland, 11–14 May 1997.
55. Collins, A.; Thurrell, T.; Pink, R.; Feather, J. Dynamic dimming the future of motorway lighting?
Light. J. 2002, 67, 25.
Energies 2015, 8 994
56. Dirección General de Carreteras. Región de Murcia. Consejería de Obras Públicas y Ordenación
del Territorio. Available online: http://www.carm.es/web/pagina?IDCONTENIDO=31421&
IDTIPO=100&RASTRO=c399$m578,31401 (accessed on 5 January 2015).
57. NN 114/11 (Oficial Gazette) Zakon o zaštiti od svjetlosnog onečišćenja. Available online:
87enja (accessed on 27 January 2014). (In Croatian)
58. Diez-Mediavilla, M.; Alonso-Tristan, C.; Rodríguez-Amigo, M.C.; García-Calderón, T.
Implementation of PV plants in Spain: A case study. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2010, 14,
59. Costa, M.A.D.; Costa, G.H.; dos Santos, A.S.; Schuch, L.; Pinheiro, J.R. A high efficiency street
lighting system based on solar energy and LEDs. In Proceedings of the Power Electronics
Conference (COBEP), Bonito, Brazil, 27 September–1 October 2009.
60. Nunoo, S.; Attachie, J.C.; Abraham, C.K. Using solar power as an alternative source of electrical
energy for street lighting in Ghana. In Proceedings of the Innovative Technologies for an Efficient
and Reliable Electricity Supply (CITRES), Waltham, MA, USA, 27–29 September 2010.
61. Bouroussis, C.A.; Topalis, F.V. Optimization of potential and autonomy of a photovoltaic system
for Street lighting. WSEAS Trans. Circuits .Syst. 2004, 3, 1392–1397.
62. Al-Ammri, A.S.; Ghazi, A.; Mustafa, F. Dust effects on the performance of PV street light in
Baghdad city. In Proceedings in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Conference (IRSEC),
Ouarzazate, Morocco, 7–9 March 2013.
63. Fernández-Infantes, A.; Contreras, J.; Bernal-Agustín, J.L. Design of grid connected PV systems
considering electrical, economical and environmental aspects: A practical case. Renew. Energy
2006, 31, 2042–2062.
64. Wadi Abbas Al-Fatlawi, A.; Abdul-Hakim, S.R.; Ward T.A.; Rahim, N.A. Technical and
economic analysis of renewable energy powered standalone pole street lights for remote area.
Environ. Prog. Sustain. Energy 2014, 33, 283–289.
65. Sperber, A.N.; Elmore, A.C.; Crow, M.L.; Cawlfield, J.D. Performance evaluation of energy
efficient lighting associated with renewable energy applications. Renew. Energy 2012, 44,
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license