Sustainable Energy Award for M50 operator

Flanked by Michael Brennan and Seamus Boland of Lumex are; Sean Hollywood, Mick McLoughlin and Borja Santamaria of M50 Concession

M50 Concession has won the SEAI Sustainable Energy Award 2017 for its Streetlight Dimming Project which has achieved energy savings of 43%, equating to cost savings of €300,000 annually.

The project involved the installation of a power controller at each of the 106 metered supply points on the M50 motorway and adjoining interchanges. The controllers from Reverberi-Enetec reduce the power to the luminaires in two defined steps at set times during the night depending on traffic flow as prescribed by relevant lighting standards.
M50 Concession is the PPP Company responsible for the M50 upgrade works, completed in 2010, and the ongoing operation and maintenance of the motorway until 2042. The M50 is the largest fully lit motorway in Ireland with over 4,000 HPS luminaires, ranging from 150W to 600W which previously consumed over 7 GWh per annum.

Since lighting accounted for 82% of their total carbon emissions M50 Concession were keen to reduce consumption.

Project Manager Sean Hollywood; “We examined a number of technologies from the outset, including LED which would have entailed a multi-million Euro investment with significant installation and traffic management costs. It would also have been difficult to justify replacing a significant number of high performance lanterns then barely a few years into their 20-year design life”

Installation and was carried out by M50 Concession’s own personnel and took six months to complete and commission. Sean added: “The return on investment is under 2.5 years and that’s not including expected maintenance savings from increased lamp and control gear life”

Lumex had previously installed controllers on a number of trials including the N1-Santry, M1-Louth and N11-Wicklow. As part of the approval process for the M50, a trial of a 5Km section of from J4 Ballymun to J5 Finglas has been operating for over two years in order to demonstrate the savings.
Michael Brennan of Lumex commented: “It has taken over 3 years to get the project across the line with consultants looking at every conceivable aspect, not least road safety. Some unique features were required which we were able to incorporate on the Reverberi systems. Whilst everyone agrees that LED will be the end game for public lighting, this project has shown that power control is a compelling option in particular cases. Incidentally the system is compatible with LED luminaires fitted with the appropriate driver in the event of a future upgrade”

M50 Concession General Manager Borja Santamaria added: “We are obviously delighted to have won the award. It is a fitting tribute to the hard work by all on the team.The savings achieved have vindicated our decision to adopt power control even when it felt we were swimming against the LED industry tide. We believe the decision to be a prudent interim measure for the next 10-15 years in our contract by which time we expect LED and driver long term reliability to be proven and prices to be more competitive.

Despite the reduced consumption the effect of the dimming is barely noticeable to the naked eye. Nobody knows it’s there!”