Focus on walkability

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Focus on walkability ‘can make LGs a population drawcard’

Australians overwhelmingly want to live locally in walkable neighbourhoods close to parks, a new Heart Foundation study has revealed.

The survey also found that a sense of safety is high on the priority list for Australians when deciding where to live.

The foundation surveyed 2895 Australians on “what matters most to them in making neighbourhoods desirable, liveable and healthy”, with findings presented in its What Australia Wants: Living locally in walkable neighbourhoods report.

Heart Foundation Director, Active Living, Trevor Shilton said: “The ability to ‘live locally’ is enabled by having a neighbourhood where the things that you need such as fresh, healthy food, safe neighbourhood streets, and daily destinations are near to your home, ideally in walking distance”. 

He said the survey found that:  

  • Nine in 10 Australians feel that having access to fresh food within a convenient distance from home is very/somewhat important to them when deciding where to live; 
  • Nearly nine in 10 people feel that having a sense of safety is very/somewhat important to them when deciding where to live; 
  • Just over eight in 10 value having natural elements such as trees and plants;
  • Around seven in 10 Australians value traffic-calming measures;
  • Around seven in 10 also value a sense of community;
  • Eight in 10 people surveyed feel that having quality public open space close to them is very/somewhat important to them when deciding where to live; and  
  • Nearly eight in 10 people surveyed said it’s very/somewhat important to them that they can be active in their local area.

The research on what makes neighborhoods desirable, liveable and healthy is set within the Healthy Active by Design framework, a website created by the Heart Foundation to highlight how best-practice planning and design of buildings, streets, towns, and cities can improve Australians’ cardiovascular health.

Leadsun is bringing SMART road lighting into all Australian municipalities – easily, affordably and efficiently. If you are looking for a dependable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solar lighting solution to enhance your community’s public spaces, get in touch with us today.

Yinnar Solar Footpath

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Yinnar Solar Footpath

“Community-led projects like this really demonstrate the benefits of transitioning to renewable energy, not only for the community but also in building a sustainable energy future for us all” – Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio.

For over ten years the community had identified lighting the one-kilometre path from the towns centre to their recreation reserve as a high priority project.

Safety concerns about people walking home next to a dark country road, particularly in the winter months, had always been a significant concern. However, the lighting would also allow the community to expand the use of their facilities.

Reticulated lighting was just too expensive and needed to be installed entirely, whereas solar-powered lights offered a cheaper, more flexible solution in which poles could be installed individually as funding became available.

The community association raised an impressive $20,000 for the solar pathway lights and was supported by the Latrobe City Council who contributed a further $20,000. The Latrobe Valley Authority granted a Community and Facility Fund worth $120,000 to complete the project in a single install.

Calls to improve lighting at Black Spots to Save Lives

Road-Safety

Calls to improve lighting on local roads to save lives

Lighting is a huge part of road safety, not only for cars and lighting black spots but also for visibility and the safety of pedestrians. With respect to pedestrians and roads in particular, according to Monash University research commissioned by walking health charityVictoria Walks, street lighting was identified as a potential issue that may help to reduce the risk of collisions at night time, with 11 percent of crashes that occur while it is dark take place in locations with no street lighting.

Lighting has been shown to be one of the most immediately impactful ways to boost both the actual and perceived safety levels of public spaces and roads. However, traditional electric lighting systems tend to present significant cost and logistical barriers due to roads and footpaths needing to be dug up for the required underground trenching and cabling. Within this context, SMART solar road lighting is the perfect solution for lighting dark spots on intersections, roundabouts, and pedestrian and cycling paths.

Research suggests there is a 35 percent reduction in road crashes when street lighting is implemented or improved.

Not only is smart solar road lighting a significantly more cost-effective solution due to there being no underground trenching and cabling required, it offers faster project turnaround times compared to grid-powered lights and flexibility as to where lights can be positioned. There are also clear environmental and social benefits – some might even say obligations – for governments to choose sustainable lighting sources moving forward.

Increasingly across Australia, local councils are overcoming the difficulty and cost of lighting dangerous intersections or long stretches of road by installing solar street lighting in situ of traditional grid-powered lighting. Successful road safety projects have already been completed in cities and towns across Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria and New South Wales – with many in response to community pressure to help fix known problem areas.

Lit by the clean energy of the sun, Leadsun’s smart solar lighting is designed for local roads and is a sustainable solution ideal for increasing safety on poorly lit roads and intersections. These lights allow local councils in particular to be SMART city ready and meet growing community expectations that public space solutions minimise environmental impact. They also offer councils the freedom to connect and scale lighting solutions quickly, easily and cost-efficiently.

As smart public lighting specialists working with local government and corporate partners since 2005, Leadsun are leaders in providing efficient, smart public lighting solutions that enhance the safety of communities across Australia and the world. 

Leadsun is bringing SMART road lighting into all Australian municipalities – easily, affordably and efficiently. If you are looking for a dependable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solar lighting solution to enhance your community’s public spaces, get in touch with us today.

10 News Coverage – The future of residential street lighting

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Australian solar technology is leading the world

The future of street lighting has now arrived! Leadsun is excited to finally announce the launch of our FREEDOM series, which is a SMART urban solar lighting solution designed for communities of the 21st century.

After more than three years of development in Melbourne, Leadsun has partnered with a leading developer of Master-planned communities in Florida, USA. Leadsun’s FREEDOM solar lights were chosen to help transform their new residential developments into the world’s smartest and most modern residential communities. So far, over 1000 lights have been successfully installed with a further 10,000 solar street lights locked-in to be deployed over the next few years.

Now is the time for progressive Australian residential property developers to utilise this new grid-free street lighting technology that has full wireless connectivity capabilities, DARK SKY compliance, and is future-proofed to power smart city devices like CCTV, public Wi-Fi access points, and more.

Click here to learn more > http://bit.ly/SMART-Urban-Lighting

Solar Tree

Solar Tree

A Big Idea!

Leadsun was invited to partner with City of Melbourne’s Industrial Design Team to create a modern, innovative and sustainable outdoor sculpture by converging Leadsun’s proprietary ‘All-In-One’ Solar + Battery + LED technologies into a spectacular tree-like sculpture that also demonstrates that we can power and light out cities with solar energy.

The Solar Tree is a big idea by Leadsun to help demonstrate City of Melbourne’s ambitious target to become carbon neutral.

The tree provides the community with a place to rest, recharge their mobile devices whilst promoting a positive social impact ensuring our public spaces are Smarter, Sustainable and Safer by harnessing the sun’s energy in a practical and functional way.

Did you know that although cities only cover 2% of earth’s landmass, they use nearly 80% of earth’s primary energy sources? Further to this, the biggest contributor to a municipality’s source of carbon emissions is from grid-connected public lighting infrastructure.

While our cities transition to renewable energy to replace existing fossil fuel electricity, the Solar Tree demonstrates the importance that collectively we must take simple steps to reduce our energy usage, not just in our homes and businesses but also in open public areas that require public lighting.

Honouring indigenous natural heritage

The Solar Tree isn’t just about technology, it’s also about sustainability and honouring the traditional and distinct nature of our municipality’s natural heritage by using reclaimed indigenous timber for the circular wooden seat located at its trunk.

The indigenous timber is selected by the local government and then hand-crafted and treated to look vibrant and elegant. It’s an important design element of the Solar Tree as it brings together both ‘nature & technology’ and the ‘past & the future’ all into one unique functional system.

Convenient meeting hub

The Solar Tree  is a great landmark and place to meet. With the timber seat able to accommodate three people, the Solar Tree has a convenient  three-way built-in USB charger at it’s trunk inviting users and visitors to sit under the solar panels and charge their smart devices 24 hours a day for free!

Technical Specifications

The Solar Tree utilises Leadsun’s innovative and proprietary ‘All-In-One’ solar-powered energy systems. The entire system features a combination of three 80W ‘Solar-Engines’ that collects and captures energy from the sun into the built-in Lithium-Ion batteries to then power the LED lights & USB chargers.

The energy produced from the Solar Engines is then distributed through its branches into ultra-efficient LED lighting fixtures featuring a motion-sensor and dimming capabilities. The Solar Tree  provides a beacon of light throughout the evening for safety, whilst demonstrating new-energy technologies through it’s USB charging station located at it’s base.

See it Live

The Solar Tree provides the perfect opportunity for municipalities to uniquely demonstrate their ambition for social & environmental leadership to the public as well showcasing new-energy technologies into public spaces & pop-up parks powered by the limitless energy of the sun.

Experience the power for yourself and charge your phone in safety under the lights of the Solar Tree located in the beautiful grounds of Birrarung Marr. The lights illuminate the granite sand and provides a warm inviting glow for the community to use the Solar Tree in the evening.

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.

Kokoda Track Foundation

Kokoda

Leadsun & the Kokoda Track Foundation, ready for the partnership to help shine a light on PNG!

Leadsun is proud to announce a Collective Energy(c) Initiative with the Kokoda Track Foundation www.ktf.ngo after our Managing Director Matt Pollard recently undertook the Kokoda Track journey and also explored some exciting projects to help light-up communities surrounding the Kokoda Track in PNG.

During Matt’s visit to PNG, he learned that a staggering 87% of Papua New Guineans still don’t have access to grid electricity infrastructure and most villages are pitch black at night. But rest assured; Help is on the way and so far more than 3,000 indoor solar lighting kits have already been delivered & installed throughout 30 PNG Villages as part of KTF’s initiatives to provide lighting in people’s homes.

Leadsun will be further supporting the ‘Kokoda Track Foundation’ with their ambitious Livelihood Project https://lnkd.in/gJUT8-N which seeks to build new community learning centres throughout the Kokoda Track region, and also provide them with access to solar-powered light and power systems which will help enable further education for young people and a better chance of a brighter future!

4 Considerations for Lighting a Pathway

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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.