UK Turns On LEDs – Not Just for the Olympics


New LED Lighting System Lights Up London Bridge

New LED Lighting System Lights Up London Bridge

With just a few weeks to go before the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, we took a look at how London is preparing for one of the world’s premier sporting events.   It turns out that the country is taking to LEDs for more than just the big show.  Many venues around London and around the United Kingdom are switching to LEDs to reduce energy consumption and save money—and looking good while doing so.

London Bridge:  In celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Summer Olympics, the 181-year old London landmark got a facelift with LED lighting.  The new system, using GE components and designed by French firm Citelum, consists 6,500 feet of LED linear lights, 1,800 LED lamps, and 1,000 junction boxes running some 16,500 feet of cable. The installation is expected to weather London’s rather rainy weather for the next 25 years with 40-percent energy savings.  This video from GE shows the new LED lighting system at work. The Olympic Rings aren’t up yet, but it shows off the lighting really well.

Hadrian’s Wall: As a part of the 2012 Olympic Festival, the historical Roman ruins will be illuminated by a series of LED-lit balloons.  Built during the Roman occupation of Britain, the 73-mile-long wall would have been lit by flaming torches made of pitch-filled bags during Roman times.  Designed by New York artists YesYesNo, the new lighting display consists of a series of tethered balloons lit by internal LED lights. Once put together, the installation becomes a line of pulsating colours that correspond to messages sent across the wall. The installation will be visible evenings and accessible to visitors at several locations along the wall. Messages sent across the wall can be made visible through smartphones and tablets and at a number of visitor sites.  The installation will be live from Friday 31 August to Saturday 1 September. You can see it in a story from the BBC.

London’s National Gallery:  The National Gallery is in the midst of a three year project to switch the entire gallery to LED lighting, making it the first art museum in the world to switch completely to LEDs.  It is expected that LED lighting will reduce the museum’s energy consumption for lighting by 85% and reduce maintenance costs.  As of now, LEDs have been installed in six picture galleries. The project is expected to be complete by 2013.

Retail:  UK jewelry retailer F. Hinds is making the switch to LEDs in 110 locations throughout the country.  The family-owned business has a keen eye on saving money and began installing LEDs to save on energy costs.  Over the next 10 years, the company expects to cut energy consumption by 57% for fluorescent lighting, 82% for halogen and 62% for metal halides.  The company says that payback on the switch to LED will take between two to four years for each location.

Tunnels:  The Transport for London, the public transportation authority in charge of tunnels, has installed LED lighting in the Upper Thames Street tunnel in Central London. It is the first tunnel in the UK to use LED lighting in an effort to improve safety, reduce maintenance closures and cut energy consumption and costs.  The tunnel opened in 1970 and carries 35,000 cars per day.