Connected LEDs are helping China meet its dual carbon goals

Sponsored content: City planners in China are installing smart connected lighting systems to reduce carbon emissions and bring new looks to famous landmarks

Phillips luminaires light up the Yangpu Bridge in Shanghai, China (Photo: Signify)


China is the midst of a massive decarbonisation campaign, and smart connected LEDs are leading the drive forward.

The country’s so-called dual carbon strategy, to peak its emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060, aims to make vast advancements as part of fighting the global climate crisis. The goals are also expected to bring trillions of dollars of investment opportunities and help advance emissions-reduction technologies and low-carbon industries.

Lighting upgrades are one of the cheapest and fastest approaches China is using to achieve its goals, as well as to ‘beautify’ the city, a secondary benefit which is being realised.

“The role of lighting in the city of future is evolving with the sustainability movements. The pressure on reducing energy, maintenance costs and operating costs will continue to increase so that climate change and budget objectives can be met,” said John Wang, President of Northeast Asia, SVP, Signify.

Planners in Shanghai, China’s most populated city, have spent the last few years working with lighting leader Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, to give the municipality’s financial and tourist districts a dramatic facelift.

The collaboration is the largest, single, architectural lighting project in Signify’s history and is expected to save the city 50-70% of its annual lighting costs when compared to previous areas lit by conventional lighting.

“The upgraded lighting system helps demonstrate Shanghai’s cultural heritage in a more vivid approach, creating impressive night scenes in an energy efficient way,” said Wang, “which can give municipalities control and real-time information on the performance of individual light points.”

“In the future, this information could be input into smart city dashboards to give planners a 360-degree view of their smart city assets as China transforms its cities to be more efficient and liveable,” he added.

Made possible with Interact Landmark Scene Management software, the more than 50,000 luminaire light points across the waterfront district can be controlled remotely with features like colour temperature and lux that have the ability to be changed instantly in response to the time of day, or to commemorate special occasions.

Further, the software detects faults and collects information relating to the energy performance of each luminaire and the system as a whole, maximising the overall efficiency of the district’s lighting management.

Three bridges – the Yangpu, Nanpu and Xupu, all crossing the Huangpu River – as well as 37 buildings in the Bund waterfront district and 40 buildings in the Pudong financial district form Signify’s Shanghai project, illuminating the iconic areas with connected smart LEDs.

The project has meant that the bridges, the Bund and the Pudong district are awash with clear, bright, controllable colour, bringing a unique identity to a prestigious city while still meeting energy efficiency goals.

China’s dual carbon goals echo similar multilateral climate programmes like the European Green Deal where governments and businesses must work together to grow economies conscious of the problems we face.

Ultimately, the speed of global climate action needs to double and for China, which is responsible for nearly a third of global annual carbon dioxide emissions, it’s a crucial opportunity to turn the tables fast.

“While China has seen energy play a key role in the unparalleled socio-economic leap forward it achieved in the last few decades, China is again taking strong action on energy with its dual carbon goals,” said Harry Verhaar, Signify’s head of global public & government affairs.

“While we will support these ambitions through the many benefits of connected LED lighting, more broadly China’s ambitions underpin that carbon neutrality is a race to the future and lightens up the prospect that we can jointly keep the world within liveable boundaries of global warming.”

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