Leadsun July Newsletter

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Leadsun July Newsletter

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It’s been a huge month.

With unprecedented numbers of people accessing public recreational areas across Australia due to COVID-19 – and councils needing to provide safe access to those spaces – we’ve been busier than ever bringing the light of day into the night for safer, more active communities.

This month, we highlight how we lit up Middle Arm Road in Goulburn and finished a milestone project lighting 10 kilometres of walkway and cycle paths. We also share 6 advantages of SMART public lighting and let the numbers do the talking with a grid-vs-grid-free cost comparison.

We’re also excited to welcome Leadsun’s new Strategic Partnerships Manager Josh Trouchet, who brings expertise and experience built through an impressive career in commercial and residential construction across Australia. Josh would love to hear from you so get in touch today to learn more about the benefits of our off-grid solar lighting and why it’s the preferred choice for public open space lighting.

JoshT

Josh Trouchet

Email: josh.trouchet@leadsun.com.au
Mobile: 0410 109 874
Office: 1300 532 378
LinkedIn profile: Connect Now

Middle Arm Road lit up under the Safe Road Program

Leadsun was recently approached to provide an affordable yet compliant, dependable solution to light up the popular Middle Arm Road in Goulburn under the Council’s Safe Road Program. The resulting cable-and-grid free solution gives council long-lasting, reliable and sustainable lighting for years to come. Click below for the full story and video footage of the project.

Lighting up Goulburn – the largest public solar lighting project of its kind

With 31% of people walking more than usual during COVID-19, Australian local governments are being urged to invest in SMART public lighting. As part of a milestone project for Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Leadsun installed 160 lights along 10km of walkway and cycle paths, in what is the largest public solar lighting project of its kind in Australia.

6 advantages of SMART public lighting

With huge numbers of people accessing public recreational spaces, it’s a crucial time for local governments to consider the role of sustainable, affordable SMART public lighting in shaping safer, more active communities. Click below for the 6 key advantages of SMART public lighting – they may surprise you.

Eye opening – Grid versus Grid-Free installation cost comparison

As well as environmental, efficiency, safety and time benefits, SMART public lighting provides significant cost benefits. See this cost comparison to find out how using grid-free solar instead of grid-connected wired lighting for a 1km pedestrian pathway can save your project at least $50,000.

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    Wodonga council plans expansion of solar pathway network

    Wodonga

    Wodonga council plans expansion of solar pathway network as the number of people walking increases 

    With more people walking and 31% of people walking more than usual during COVID-19 the Wodonga Council is doing what more councils are being urged to do – invest in solar pathway lighting

    Victoria Walks Executive Officer Ben Rossiter is heading up the campaign to call on councils across Victoria to apply for their share of Government Safety Grants available to help fund lighting projects. 

    “Since mid-March, Victoria Walks has seen exponential growth in the number of Victorians looking for great, safe places to walk,” Dr Rossiter said. 

    Since 2018 Wodonga Council has led the way installing solar lighting across kilometres of popular pathways including at Birallee Park, David Bishop Park, Arthur Dunstan Park, Frank Kier Park, George Looms Park, Westlands Park, James Taverny Park and Belvoir Park. 

    Melbourne-based Leadsun, a world leader in solar public lighting and an associate member of Victoria Walks, has worked with Wodonga Council to install the lighting which has made pathways more accessible and helped improve safety. 

    Managing Director Matt Pollard said with the increase in local exercise and people out walking, community groups and residents are urging their local councils for improvements to pathways and trails. 

    “Many of the recreational trails where people love to walk are in areas where you can’t get traditional street lighting in or it’s too expensive to even try,” Mr Pollard said. 

    “In most cases, people either won’t use the path before dawn or after dark, or they’ll walk with an iPhone or torch to try to see where they’re going. One for one, solar lighting is more cost effective than traditional electrical public lighting as there’s no need for extensive trenching, no electrical wiring and the power stores in the battery for three days.” 

    Wodonga Council said the rollout of the solar lighting project enhanced the extensive pathways network that was well-used by the community. 

    “The solar lighting project is an initiative that aims to enhance personal safety, deter antisocial behaviour and create improved levels of connectivity in the community,” a Council spokesperson said. 

    Housing New Zealand – Solar street lighting

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    Housing New Zealand – Solar street lighting

    • Project: Communal accessway lighting
    • Location: Auckland

    Housing New Zealand’s challenge is to provide housing for the nation’s most vulnerable people in a way that’s safe, healthy, sustainable, and cost-effective. The Leadsun solar street light is helping to meet those needs.

    This HNZ development on Auckland’s North Shore is one of many new communities using solar lighting.

    In this development the shared accessway serves as vehicle access to multiple homes and is also used by pedestrians, including visitors to the community and small children at play. Safety and security is paramount.

    As well as being off-grid, the solar street light conserves its own power by dimming down to 30% when no-one is around. This still provides enough background light to maintain a sense of security The low light on the accessways also helps to maintain a sense of community within the development, rather than isolating the homes in darkness.

    When significant movement is detected – a vehicle or a pedestrian – the unit switches to 100 percent output, giving enough light to identify hazards on the accessway and plenty of light to deter unwanted activity. Because the unit dims quickly when people leave the area, the accessway is not lit all night with an unnecessary level of light.

    By choosing a solar solution on this site HNZ didn’t need to run cable to the light fittings and they don’t have to pay for power. The Leadsun solar street light, with its dimming and presence detection, gives the residents all-night security without over-lighting their homes and surroundings.

    The crisp light makes it easy to identify people and obstacles on the access-way.

    Australia’s largest SMART public lighting project lighting the way

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    AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST SMART PUBLIC LIGHTING PROJECT COMPLETED AS THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WALKING INCREASES

    With more people walking and 31 percent of people walking more than usual during COVID, the Goulburn Mulwaree Council in New South Wales has done what more local governments across Australia are being urged to do – invest in SMART public lighting.

    As part of a milestone project, Melbourne-based company, Leadsun, has installed 160 lights along 10 kilometres of walkway and cycle paths in Goulburn in what is the largest public solar lighting project of its kind in Australia.

    Leadsun’s Managing Director, Matt Pollard, said Leadsun was a world leader in public solar lighting having designed and patented the first an all-in-one LED solar light.

    “This Goulburn project started 12 months ago. Initially there was the first stage which had 120 lights over the first section of the pathway,” Mr Pollard said.

    “Since then, there’s been an extension to the pathway network and there’s been another 42 lights, so in total there’s 160 lights all connected throughout the pathway and I believe that’s the largest solar pathway lighting project in Australia.”

    Energy Minister and Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor said the walkway in Goulburn was now safer and more accessible making it a well-used community asset. “I’m thrilled that the installation of solar lighting will extend the hours of use of the walkway,” Minister Taylor said.

    Member of Mission Australia’s Man Walk group, Daniel Strickland who uses the path weekly said he has seen more people exercising before sunrise and at night since the lights were installed.

    “When we started in July last year before the lights we would come along with our iPhones and our torches,” he said.

    One for one, solar public lighting is more cost effective than traditional electrical street lighting and does not require extensive trenching nor electrical wiring. Power can be stored in the lithium-ion batteries for three days.

    The Goulburn Mulwaree Council is now planning a further 1.5km extension to the solar lighting project which was partly funded under the Federal Government Community Sport Infrastructure Program.

    Mr Pollard said sporting clubs, walking groups and residents were increasingly lobbying local governments to apply for grants to install solar lighting to improve access and safety.

    Light Relief – Channel 9 News story campaigning for more accessible and safer walking tracks

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    Light Relief – Channel 9 News story campaigning for more accessible and safer walking tracks

    Three times as many Victorians are searching for walking maps online and Heart Foundation figures show 31% of Australians were walking more during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

    Now, Victorian residents and fitness groups are being called on to lobby their local council to apply for a new State Government grant that provides funding to install solar lighting on popular pathways and recreational trails.

    Victoria Walks Executive Officer Ben Rossiter is heading up the campaign to call for applications to the $68 million Community Sport stimulus program before they close on Friday (June 19).

    “Since mid-March, Victoria Walks has seen exponential growth in the number of Victorians looking for great, safe places to walk,” Dr Rossiter said.

    “With so many more people realising the benefits of walking, it’s really important councils invest in good walking infrastructure and that includes lighting. Twice the rate of women than men walk, and for many, personal safety can be a major concern but good lighting can help with that.”

    Melbourne-based Leadsun is a world leader in solar public lighting and associate member of Victoria Walks. Managing Director Matt Pollard said just as sporting clubs upgrade facilities, walking groups and residents are now calling for improvements to pathways and trails.

    “Many of the recreational trails where people love to walk are in areas where you can’t get traditional street lighting in or it’s too expensive to even try,” Mr Pollard said.

    “In most cases, people either won’t use the path before dawn or after dark, or they’ll walk with an iPhone or torch to try to see where they’re going. One for one, solar lighting is more cost effective than traditional electrical public lighting as there’s no need for extensive trenching, no electrical wiring and the power stores in the battery for three days.”

    Dr Rossiter said Victoria Walks had supported previous campaigns to have solar lighting installed across Victoria and urged residents to contact their local council before applications for the grant closed.

    “Walking is an activity Victorians want to do. You don’t need special equipment, and you can do it with your family, with friends or by yourself and if you shine a light on a path, it’s more likely to be used,” he said.

    “We want to make it more accessible and improve walking conditions, so it’s very important residents talk to their council so we can use the pathways day and night.”

    Wodonga Council lights the way

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    Wodonga council plans expansion of solar pathway network as the number of people walking increases

    There are more than 100 solar lights illuminating paths across Wodonga with another 47 new lights to be installed in the next stage.

    Deputy Mayor Cr Brian Mitchell and Manager Sport and Recreation Liona Edwards met with the founder of manufacturer Leadsun today to showcase the project and discuss the next stage.

    The lights are along the House Creek trail through Wodonga including Belvoir Park to the Gateway Island with linkages to Birallee Park, David Bishop Park, Arthur Dunstan Park, Frank Krier and George Looms Park, Westlands Park, and James Taverny Park.

    The next stage will cover Parkers Rd and Moorefield Park Drive to the underpass at Wodonga TAFE and complete the link from Forrest Mars Ave to Belvoir Park, a total of 47 new lights.

    This continuation of path lighting will complete key linkages to the existing path networks already benefitting from previous installations and connect to major community facilities including Wodonga TAFE, Victory Primary School and La Trobe University.

    The lights provide lit access to Wodonga CBD, schools, hospitals, sporting reserves and other amenities, and help increase perceptions for safety, reduce anti-social behaviour and improve natural surveillance.

    Manager Sport and Recreation Liona Edwards said the rollout of the solar lighting project enhanced the extensive pathways network that was well-used by the community.

    “The solar lighting project is an initiative that aims to enhance personal safety, deter antisocial behaviour and create improved levels of connectivity in the community,” she said.

    Automated counters installed on each of the city’s key walking and cycling corridors – the House Creek Trail, the High Country Rail Trail and the Stock Bridge leading to Albury – show just how well-used our pathways are by the community.

    Counters have shown an average of 101 per cent increase in usage during the past two months compared to the same time last year.

    The latest path counter data taken along the House Creek Trail and the High Country Rail Trail showed that during the months of March to May, while the full COVID-19 restrictions were in place, more than double the regular users were making use of sections of the trails while gyms and sports clubs remained closed.

    Helped by the newly sealed surface and furniture recently installed along the Rail Trail, average daily users increased by up to 171 percent near Whytes Rd and 89 percent closer into the CBA, while the recent addition of solar lighting assisted the House Creek Trail daily usage to increase up to 177 percent out by Clyde Cameron Reserve.

    Light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel

    1000 Steps

    Creating safer & more attractive public spaces after dark – a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel

    Like many Victorians on Saturday, I wanted to get back outside and hit a track, trail or pathway to take advantage of the mild conditions. Before COVID-19 – and for the last several years – the 1000 Steps (in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne) had been my destination of choice to get amongst nature and enjoy the fresh air and open spaces while challenging myself up and down the steps. I’ve always loved how healthy and revitalised it makes me feel.

    So, on Saturday, with lockdown restrictions easing and parks reopening, I decided the time had come to reacquaint myself with ‘the steps’. Unfortunately, my reacquaintance ended before it even began.

    Why? Because hundreds – perhaps thousands – of others had the same idea. The park was packed, with the adjacent road and streets jammed with cars and more people wanting to get in, bringing traffic to a standstill. The whole experience was like arriving at the concert of a huge music star, but in this case, the only star was ‘The Steps’ and she’s been the resident star attraction for decades. So why all the fuss now?

    Maybe it’s because there seems to now be a surge in people realising that exercise and physical activity doesn’t need to be sophisticated. It doesn’t need a gym or a tennis court. There’s been almost a collective realisation that walking is the most convenient, simplest exercise most of us can do.

    Which it is. But does this now pose an even greater risk to people’s health?

    What I realised on Saturday was that although we have so many amazing open spaces with walkways and trails, we still don’t always have the time to use them during weekday daylight hours. It seems we still have to leave it to the weekends.

    Only now, those weekends and those parks are full of a lot more people than before. People who have now discovered (or rediscovered) the joy of exercising out in our parks. But, with social-distancing recommendations still rightly in place, is this surge in numbers of people crowding into our parks on the weekends putting people at even greater risk of COVID-19 transmission?

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    Don’t get me wrong – it’s fantastic that so many more people are appreciating just how physically and mentally beneficial walking out in our parks can be. But what Saturday’s experience showed me is that we do indeed have a challenge to ensure we can maintain social-distancing measures while allowing people to continue to enjoy our world-leading parks and open public spaces.

    It’s a great challenge to have, but it’s still a challenge. But like many challenges, when you look at it a bit more closely, there’s a clear silver lining of opportunity.

    What if we could upgrade existing facilities and extend their hours of usage beyond just daylight hours, particularly from Monday to Friday when people are usually at their busiest? To allow people to use those facilities after daylight hours too?

    There are currently limited options for attractive, safe walking paths or trails that people can use after hours, and it seems many of our most fantastic open spaces and community assets are underutilised.

    There’s a clear opportunity – perhaps even a community and health responsibility – to extend their hours of usage.

    A silver lining in golden public assets.

    If we could extend these spaces’ usable hours, we could turn already-established networks of community infrastructure into golden assets that can be used not just during daylight hours, but in early morning and evenings as well.

    We saw it in the mid-90s when we extended hours of retail shopping on Thursday and Friday nights, and how popular that has become. Also, we already extend the usable hours of other recreation and sporting facilities with adequate lighting, like tennis, allowing people to do these activities outside daylight hours. Why should walking trails and pathways be any different? Why shouldn’t walking for exercise and leisure be deemed just as important as tennis?

    After all, as is so rightly pointed out by Victoria Walks Inc – a walking health promotion charity working to get more Victorians walking every day – if you design communities for automobiles, you get more automobiles. If you design them for people, you get walkable, liveable communities.[1]

    Walkable public spaces make good health and economic sense – but safety is still a huge concern.

    Walking for exercise is the most common form of transport in Melbourne, and has huge benefits both for health and economics. Recreational walking, for example, is by far the most common physical activity for Australians aged 15 years or over, with nearly 45% of the population actively walking for recreation at least once a year[2].

    However, we haven’t got anywhere near enough attractive, inviting and safely lit environments to accommodate our recreational walkers. Because where Australia really falls down is on gender disparity in feeling safe in public spaces at night. While Australian men feel above-average safety, only women in Chile, Mexico and Hungary feel less safe walking alone at night. For every 10 Australian men who say they feel safe walking at night, there are only 6.3 women who would say the same – the worst gender differential in the OECD [3]

    It is clear that limited walking options in some places create barriers and concerns about personal safety, particularly for women.

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    The SMART light at the end of the tunnel.

    Integrating public lighting systems can make all the above a reality, however until recently, there have been three key barriers to this – Number 1. High cost for installation and ongoing electricity fees, Number 2. Disruption and Destruction caused during the installation process by trenching underground electric wiring, Number 3. Length of time it takes for permits and specifications to be drawn up from electricity companies before a project can become shovel-ready.

    However, there is now a solution that overcomes these barriers and enables people to exercise when they want and where they want in an open space environment that has enhanced safety and is attractive to use. It’s called Smart Public Lighting.

    It’s SMART because it is far more: 

    Sustainable, in that it’s completely powered by the sun and off the electricity grid.

    Modern, in terms of both innovative technical functionality and design aesthetic.

    Adaptive in the different environments it can be installed in and operate specific to the needs of a given application.

    Robust, both in build quality and dependable performance that can withstand electricity blackouts and brownouts.

    Technologically advanced, through the most innovative functionality like wireless remote control and monitoring and automatic dimming functions that automatically adjusts the level of brightness upon detection of pedestrian movement around the lights.

    The solution is as clear as day – or hopefully, night.

    LEADSUN proudly specialises in innovative SMART public lighting solutions for open spaces – in particular, for walking trails, shared pathways, recreation reserves and car parks.

    As SMART public lighting specialists working with trusted local government and corporate partners since 2005, we are industry leaders in the provision of efficient, smart public lighting solutions that have enhanced the safety of communities across Australia and the world. 

    Now more than ever, we’re here to bring light to Australia’s public spaces, easily and efficiently.

    Click here to learn more about how we can light up your part of the world.

    [1] Parris Glendening and Christine Todd Whitman in Victoria Walks Corporate Supporter Guide.

    [2] Victoria walks 2019, Walking and transport in Melbourne suburbs.

    [3] Ibid.

    4 Considerations for Lighting a Pathway

    4-Considerations

    4 Considerations for Lighting a Pathway

    Public pathways may be convenient during the day, but they often must close at sundown—which can limit their use, especially in winter months with shorter hours of daylight. Proper signage and after-dark policies may help, but installing effective lighting is an even better way to increase the sense of safety for walkers. Here are four key things to consider to effectively light your shared pathway project.

    #1: Consider what the community wants.

    Properly assessed lighting considers who will be using the shared pathway and for what purpose. What types of users are there? Commuters traveling after dark, especially in winter, will likely need and want more lighting than weekend visitors, who may be more likely to stick to daylight hours for their activities.

    Properly assessed lighting considers who will be using the shared pathway and for what purpose. What types of users are there? Commuters traveling after dark, especially in winter, will likely need and want more lighting than weekend visitors, who may be more likely to stick to daylight hours for their activities.

    In addition, there must be a proper environmental assessment to ensure the local ecology won’t be negatively affected by the lighting. Trees and underground works don’t mix very well, and tree roots often interfere with underground cabling when grid-powered lighting is used, which then leads to long term maintenance costs.

    #2: Consider what lighting type works for the physical location.

    There are several considerations for lighting on a pathway. Wired lighting may require little maintenance over time, but it is expensive to install and may not be feasible in riparian corridors or anywhere that environmental disruption is not permitted. Battery-powered lighting may be cheap and easy to repair, but it is not reliable and requires frequent maintenance for battery changes.

    A solar-powered light combines the reliability of a wired light with the simplicity of the installation of a battery-powered light. With no trenching required for cables, it is environmentally friendly and simple to maintain. Solar-powered pathway lights are reliable as long as they are sized correctly for the location and are not heavily shaded by trees or structures. If trees are a factor, can solar lights still be an option?

    #3: Consider what lighting placement and design will work for the pathway location and use.

    A solar-powered light combines the reliability of a wired light with the simplicity of the installation of a battery-powered light. With no trenching required for cables, it is environmentally friendly and simple to maintain. Solar-powered pathway lights are reliable as long as they are sized correctly for the location and are not heavily shaded by trees or structures. If trees are a factor, can solar lights still be an option?

    • Meet Australia’s lighting compliance standards: Lights should comply with illumination requirements as set out by Light Council of Australia.
    • Light only what’s needed: Lights should be shielded, pointing only at the ground and not into the sky to help minimize light pollution, which affects people, animals, and the environment.
    • Be appropriate: Lights should be scaled effectively for pathway use and spaced properly for adequate coverage.
    • Be placed where required for safety: That includes at tunnels and overpasses; trailheads; bridge entrances and exits; public gathering places; along streets; crosswalks; where the path crosses another path or sidewalk; and on signage.
    • Be aesthetically pleasing: While not a requirement, lights that have a warm-white glow rather than a blue-white glow are more pleasant to the eye. In the past, achieving this color with LEDs was more of a challenge, but today’s technology is making it possible to provide a warm-white LED light without breaking the bank.

    #4: Consider who will be installing and maintaining the lights

    It is one thing to choose lights for the end-users, but it’s another to choose lights that will be cost-effective to install and maintain. Installation varies by location and type of light, so running a cost comparison can be a good place to start.

    Meanwhile, maintenance can be a challenge for local governments with budgets already stretched thin. For wired lights, a problem with one can cause a whole string to go out. Battery-powered lights avoid this problem, but if the lights are not configured properly, the maintenance team may be out changing batteries more frequently than they would like. With solar lights, there is maintenance still required like any other lighting solution, however, if lithium-ion batteries are used and the technology is high quality, then maintenance is minimal.

    Leadsun’s 15th anniversary in business

    15-Years

    Leadsun’s 15th anniversary in business

    2020 marks Leadsun’s 15th anniversary in business, and as pioneers in the solar street lighting industry, we couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve achieved over the last 15 years. Whether it’s creating a higher level of safety in the community by lighting up dark public spaces or providing a sustainable lighting solution to cut carbon emissions in communities, there is no challenge we have not overcome.    

    Since 2005, we are extremely proud of the positive impact we have made to Australian communities and the challenges we have overcome.  And even in these turbulent times, we want you to know that we are here for you, forging ahead and open for business, ready to help light up your community with affordable solar lighting that is quick and easy to install.

    The Challenge

    While 2020 has presented many challenges to us all, and the focus right now is staying healthy and socially conscious, we must stay positive and keep moving forward as a community learning from the past and strengthening the future. As we start rebuilding communities that have been affected by bushfires and floods, now is the time to seek new orientations and take a fresh approach to safety and sustainability.