Invisible Connection, Clear Energy Savings: London’s Haringey Goes Smart

It’s unusual on your travels to not see a Schréder solution. The elegant curves of our luminaires are admired everywhere from Cannes to Sydney. We’ve lit bridges, tunnels and monuments worldwide. Since the turn of the century, the internet has revolutionised global industry - including the lighting sector. In particular, the Internet of Things (IoT) offers unprecedented ways to connect luminaires, sensors and systems.


Schréder 360 is a series where we hear from project owners and managers, end users and our own engineers about the genesis of innovative solutions, from coastlines to cities. In this edition, we’ll learn about a solution you can’t see - but where the difference is obvious. The London Borough of Haringey selected Schréder EXEDRA to bring together 15,000 light points into a single, connected system where it can optimise light levels, reduce carbon emissions, and seamlessly maintain lighting assets.
 

Building on a Tradition of Innovation 

Haringey Council, one of London’s 32 administrative boroughs, provides a range of services for its 270,000 residents, including street lighting, which plays an important role helping people feel safe. It is the home of Alexandra Palace, where the BBC first broadcast from in the 1930s; proudly illuminated, the monument is a landmark for the borough by night.  

Like much of the UK, Haringey made the transition to LED lighting over the last decade, saving energy and residents’ money by switching from legacy sodium and HID systems. IoT solutions have since developed: they offer increased energy savings, more visual comfort for residents and visitors, and can even form the backbone of a smart city system. In 2020, Haringey decided to install a smart lighting solution, where the luminaires are controlled by a Central Management Systems (CMS) - a contract won by Urbis Schréder. 
 
A CMS connects street lighting infrastructure via nodes attached to the luminaire, allowing owners to control a portfolio of assets. Energy use and CO2 carbon emissions will be reduced through the delivery of an efficient, sustainable and economical lighting service to the required British Standards which is controlled and maintained by the CMS. The system will also detect faulty equipment and adjust lighting for areas of concern to support the local community.
 

Twin Goals, Smart Solutions  

There’s two elements to the project,” explains Clare Thomas, Head of Applications & Solutions at Urbis Schréder. “There’s energy conservation, and there’s the connected element.” By ensuring every luminaire has a node and connecting these to Schréder EXEDRA, Haringey can truly take control of its assets.

Because we’ve got that lighting knowledge, rather than just being a controls company, we’ve been able to advise them on how to optimise it for energy use, but also think about how they could manage their lighting to give added benefit to their residents. 

Clare Thomas - Head of Applications & Solutions - Urbis Schréder
Clare Thomas
Head of Applications & Solutions - Urbis Schréder

Achieving these two changes involves enhancing efficiency through using a simple palette of quality materials and maintaining to a high standard - which in turn reduces clutter on streets. That all leads to a safer, more inclusive, street environment
 
Global hubs like London have been trying hard to save energy and reduce carbon emissions: cities account for over 70% of global CO2 emissions and urban leaders are turning to innovative solutions to play their part in fighting climate change. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has set a target for London to be net zero carbon by 2030 and lighting choices can play a vital role in achieving this.
 

Diverse Assets, Multiple Stakeholders

Haringey’s lighting assets were diverse, to say the least, with around 20,000 street light points. “Some of the street lights are Schréder, some of them are not,” explains Thomas. “The main priority is that we’re connecting all of it, so they can optimise the control and the management of the assets that they already have.” 
 
With interoperability at the heart of Urbis Schréder’s approach, that meant bringing everyone together. TRT manufactured around half the luminaires in Haringey, Marlborough are responsible for maintenance and the council is ultimately in charge. “We just had to get everybody round the table as quickly as possible, to solve any issues,” recalls Carol O’Gowans, Director at Ollume Lighting Consultancy, who worked for Haringey Council on the project. 
 
Haringey is a diverse area, featuring some of London’s most charming residential neighbourhoods, such as Crouch End and Muswell Hill. It also includes others where improving the atmosphere after dark is a concern. “We attended site to investigate existing lighting levels in a variety of areas,” recalls Urbis  Schréder's Thomas, which involved seeing how lighting affects people's perception of safety and the social impact of effective lighting. “It’s about working out what the customer needs.”

The streets of Haringey are now lit with a connected system to ensure safety for all with less energy

At the heart of this was working out what residents wanted, with the council asking them for local knowledge about areas across the borough where street lighting levels could be improved. Switching to a CMS means lighting for areas of concern can be instantly adjusted to support the local community.

Residents have told us that street lighting can improve safety, address issues of anti-social behaviour, dumping waste, and crime. It can also encourage people to take public transport or walk more,” said Councillor Seema Chandwani, Cabinet Member for Tackling Inequality and Resident Services, in a statement. “I’m delighted that we are investing in improving street lighting levels across the borough.”
 

Changing the Light, Without Changing the Lighting 

With lighting, more doesn’t automatically mean better. Over-illumination not only wastes energy and carbon but also creates visual pollution. In addition, it affects local flora and fauna and blocks our view of the stars. “When on a road at 11.30pm we encountered lighting that was bright for the area but was in line with the British Standards at the time of design,” recalls O’Gowans of one site visit.

You’re adapting the lighting levels to what’s happening at that place and time, you’re optimising energy use, it’s a really smart way of working,” explains Urbis Schréder’s Thomas. As part of getting the CMS up and running, the team began to research appropriate light levels. Uniformity is the most important factor for residential areas, avoiding glare and dark spots between lanterns.

Sometimes light levels need to be raised, as well. Haringey is home to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, one of the biggest names in the Premier League. If there's a match on and there are a lot of residents and visitors going back to the train station, lighting can be increased to help people get home from the game. 

The key is that lighting is responsive and adaptive, and that uniformity is more important than just blasting out bright light.

We carried out an experiment over six-weeks with various lighting levels, while delivering calculated uniformity and saving energy. The results showed that residents simply went about their business.

Carol McGowan - Director - Ollume Lighting Consultancy
Carol O’Gowans
Director - Ollume Lighting Consultancy

A triumph for uniformity - and connected lighting. 
 

A Few Surprises

Part of Urbis Schréder’s holistic approach is that we work with customers to develop solutions in the face of technical challenges, meaning every single light point is on board. Because Haringey had taken a futureproof approach, they had already invested in around 8,000 connected-ready luminaires. They opted for NEMA sockets, and we were able to install the nodes at a rate of 1,000 per week, a fraction of the time it would have taken to upgrade legacy light fittings.
 
Another 7,000 luminaires didn’t have a node socket, but a 20mm conduit hole to accommodate a miniature photocell, so Urbis Schréder developed a so-called conduit node to bring these assets on board. This involved a manual intervention to physically wire the node to each street light. Because we believe in interoperability and choice, there was a 50/50 split between Schréder and non-Schréder lanterns - but we got them all connected

That’s not all. In a borough as varied as Haringey, which has attractive parks, busy shopping streets and excellent transport connections, there’s a lot of lighting assets. Our team connected legacy OWLET nodes, decorative lanterns with a Zhaga connection, and third-party nodes on some pedestrian subway fittings and street signs. In the process of integrating the various luminaires and Haringey’s existing asset management system, Clare Thomas adds, “we’ve found that, in some cases, what they thought they had, wasn’t exactly what they’d got…. it made life quite interesting!” 
 
This reflects the advantage of installing connected-ready luminaires. Buying lighting solutions that come with a socket, or a node pre-fitted, is a great choice for local authorities who want to upgrade their lighting, but don’t want to install a CMS right now. The connected-ready luminaires were the easiest - and most cost-effective - part of the project.
 

FutureProof Smart Solutions

Setting up the CMS creates options for the future. Pollution sensors, measuring traffic volumes, an alert to grit the roads if temperatures fall below a certain level… the possibilities are endless. The Urbis Schréder team are already exploring how lighting could be integrated with road safety lighting, Belisha beacons, zebra crossings, illuminated signs and bollards. “Longer term, do we know what that’s going to be yet? No, but it's part of working together, to be able to develop those use cases that will deliver tangible value,” enthuses Thomas. 
 
It also represents maintenance savings: instead of so-called “night scouts” going on patrol to note faults - meaning they can go unspotted for several weeks - faults are reported in real-time by the asset itself. And when new lighting is added, it automatically becomes a part of the system.

It’s not just the lighting, it’s the collaborative approach,” says Thomas. “It’s been a learning experience for us, as well.” Investing in the CMS means connecting data, services and support as well.

This is where having that deeper understanding of the lighting is really important. We think of it, not as a computer game, not just coloured blobs on a screen, but we’re conscious of it affecting the people that live and work there.

Clare Thomas - Head of Applications & Solutions - Urbis Schréder
Clare Thomas
Head of Applications & Solutions - Urbis Schréder

And Future Engineers, Too 

Urbis Schréder’s engineers are at the heart of everything we do, and we were delighted that staff involved in the project took part in the Minecraft Streetbuilders Project, in partnership with Haringey and Blockbuilders. The workshop is part of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious programme, and aims to raise awareness of the diversity, nature and impact of engineering amongst people of all ages and backgrounds.

We talked to a group of teenagers about a street and how you would develop it,” explains O’Gowans. “To get them thinking about this type of design for the first time… there are so many roles, the urban design team, landscape team, lighting team, civil engineers, structural engineers.” Programmes such as Streetbuilders build on our “Together for Our People” value; engineering is a great career choice and a wide talent pool gives our industry more skilled individuals to choose from. 
 

Living, Working, Cycling

Residents have noticed the subtle changes and appreciate them. Sheila Hanlon, who has lived in Crouch End for 12 years, recently moved from one of the area’s more commercial streets to a residential one. “I’m Canadian, so of course I went out in the middle of a snowstorm,” she explains. “I noticed the lantern was illuminating each snowflake perfectly, with the dark sky behind it.” The optimised lighting on residential streets means pedestrians feel safe and comfortable.

Our bedroom window is on the front of the house, and we can now sleep comfortably at night without blackout blinds. It’s a nicer quality of light, not too bright.

Sheila Hanlon - Resident, Haringey
Sheila Hanlon
Resident - Haringey

Hanlon, a keen cyclist who studies the history of women and cycling sees improvements as part of a broader shift towards making London a friendlier place for bikes. “London streets used to feel too dark to safely go for a night cycle, which is one of my favourite things to do on a bike,” she says. Now, she cycles to and from work, across Hampstead Heath, and up to Alexandra Palace Park regularly. Effective lighting of cycle paths through parks can make a huge difference, she adds. “Finsbury Park is noticeably lighter, so I do feel safer cycling through it,” she notes.

The London borough of Haringey has gone smart to save energy without compromising safety


Invisible Changes, Real Results

Initial results show that energy savings are as much as 60% in some streets - meaning Haringey is playing its part in getting London to net zero. Residents are happy, and streets are well-lit.

It would be good to visually see the changes the CMS has made to Haringey, a before and after photo for example, but that’s not as obvious with a CMS. With the installation of the CMS, all roads are in line with current British Standards lighting levels, inventory is up to date and ability to control, monitor and save is optimised.

Carol O’Gowans
Director - Ollume Lighting Consultancy