AURORALIA 2011 Award Winners Are Announced

For the third successive year, the Auroralia Award – organized jointly by LUCI and Schréder – honors the best sustainable urban lighting initiatives. Located just outside of Chicago, Illinois, Schréder Lighting U.S. operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Addison, Illinois.

Following lively discussions, the panel of independent judges composed of representatives from specialized trade journals chose to give an award to Arraiolos (Portugal), Nivelles (Belgium), and St. Helens (UK), as well as a special mention for Remchingen (Germany). The representatives of these four municipalities received their Auroralia Award this month at the official ceremony during the Lyon Light Festival.

For the 2011 award, 19 projects from 18 towns or municipalities worldwide were submitted: Angus (Scotland); Arraiolos (Portugal); Bogota (Colombia); Castegnato (Italy); Krakow (Poland); Dubrovnik (Croatia); Hodmezovasarhely (Hungary); London (UK); Lviv (Ukraine); Mauthausen (Austria); Nivelles (Belgium); North Alentejo (Portugal); Osaka (Japan); Indore (India); Puebla (Mexico); Remchingen (Germany); St. Helens (UK) and Valladolid(Spain).

Each of these cities submitted one or more external lighting projects that incorporate an environmental dimension in an educational manner. The members of the judging panel conducted an in-depth analysis before deciding on the three best projects. The criteria took into account the efforts to minimize the project’s environmental impact – quantified in particular by a reduction in CO2 emissions – but also of its exemplary character, its integration within a larger plan, its socio-economic relevance, educational dimension, and its originality. After a first round of voting, at the end of which Dubrovnik, Hodmezovasarhely, Valladolid, Osaka and Lviv were also among the finalists, the panel chose to give the Awards to Arraiolos, Nivelles, and St. Helens. A special mention was given to Remchingen.

1st Prize – Arraiolos (Portugal)
A village of 7,352 inhabitants nestled in the heart of the Alentejo region, Arraiolos has a world-wide reputation for its tapestries. In 2011, Arraiolos became the first Portuguese village to draw up and implement a large-scale project to illuminate the historic center of the village exclusively by LEDs. The old lighting system, made up of a disparate set of conventional luminaires equipped with discharge lamps, was completely replaced. The objective was threefold: to increase the level of lighting, offer better-quality lighting, and dramatically reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

To achieve this, the local authorities worked with lighting designers Eduardo Gonçalves and Rogério Oliveira from Eclipz design office. In collaboration with lighting manufacturer Schréder Iluminação, the two designed a luminaire equipped with 36 LEDs.  By diffusing a warm white light, the 401 Rivara luminaires – named in homage to one of the village’s famous inhabitants, a writer and statesman of the 19th century – provide excellent color rendition and a high degree of visual comfort. With energy savings of no less than 50 percent per luminaire, the new LED installation significantly reduces operating and maintenance costs.  The luminaires are equipped with a remote management system that adapts lighting levels during the night. Each luminaire is controlled individually by a central unit. This system is capable of generating additional energy savings of 30 percent. Several monuments have also been lit by LED floodlights with a neutral white light to provide a contrast with the street lighting.

The judges were impressed by the quality of this installation, which manages to reconcile showcasing cultural heritage, improving the comfort and efficiency of public lighting, perfect aesthetic integration within the historic heart of the village and significant energy savings.

2nd Prize Nivelles (Belgium)
This Belgian town of 26,000 inhabitants was severely affected by bombing during the Second World War. The town had been rebuilt according to a functional urban planning plan dedicated, above all, to motor vehicles. The 11th century Collégiale church, the veritable historic heart of the town, had become the centerpiece of a large traffic circle. In the mid-2000s, the local authorities wanted to give space back to the public. Several streets and esplanades adjacent to the Collégiale were therefore made off-limits to traffic and turned into huge pedestrian zones. This urban planning renovation was based around a new lighting plan aimed at replacing a range of luminaires equipped with discharge lamps with a modern installation mainly using LEDs.

To preserve the open character of the space around the Collégiale, the local authorities decided to ban luminaires on poles. They gave priority to bollards and recessed luminaires as their discreet integration helps preserve the cultural heritage.  By employing different levels of lighting, the installation structures the space and highlights the architectural treasures of the town center. The new installation generates energy savings of 73 percent and stops the town from producing more than 26 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.  Through various operations under the heading “Nivelles, cœur de Lumière” (“Nivelles, heart of Light”), the town promotes a social and environmental approach to light.

3rd Prize – St. Helens (UK)

In the suburbs of Liverpool, St. Helens is a town of 175,000 residents in the densely urbanized county of Merseyside. Its college was completely renovated to modernize its infrastructures and increase its capacity to 15,000 students. At the same time, as new buildings were being constructed, the town launched a project to renovate the lighting installations around the campus. Situated in the heart of the town – precisely where there is most commercial activity – the campus is home not only to educational facilities but also a sports hall, restaurants, and public spaces. Replacing the old sodium lamps, a new LED lighting system was installed on the college site and in the four main streets surrounding it.  The aim was to increase the level and quality of lighting while significantly reducing energy consumption. The new installation generates energy savings of 21 percent and fulfills several functions: light the space comfortably and efficiently, reduce crime, ensure traffic safety, and stimulate economic activity.

Special Mention – Remchingen (Germany)

With just under 12,000 residents, Remchingen – a medium-sized town in the Karlsruhe district – has made a significant commitment to future generations by converting all its luminaires equipped with 150-watt sodium lamps to 34-watt 28 LED luminaires. The intervention involved 1,000+ lighting units in all corners of the town. To reduce the investment and the time needed to install the new luminaires, the authorities retained the existing poles. The new installation provides a warm, white light and allows the town to cut its energy bill by 78 percent. Each year, Remchingen will thus reduce its CO2 emissions by 146 tons.  By giving the German town a special mention, the judges wanted to emphasize the massive economic and environmental impact of a global conversion to LED light sources as undertaken by Remchingen as part of its “relighting” project.

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