Feature, Outdoor, Transport

LEDs cut costs in North London underpass

This underpass near King’s Cross and St Pancras stations in North London is saving money on energy and maintenance since it had its old metal halide lights replaced with specially designed LED road tunnel luminaires from Philips.

The St Pancras Road underpass is a busy road, cycle and pedestrian route to the two major train stations, as well as providing access to Camden Council’s new offices. It was previously lit by around 100 twin-lamp metal halide fittings and the council saw an opportunity to visually improve what had become a gloomy and uninviting area. This was a ‘spend to save’ initiative to take advantage of energy-efficiency gains and lower maintenance costs while also reducing carbon emissions.

The lighting design was carried out by Philips and the new luminaires were installed by main contractor SPIE. SPIE’s John Broster said: ‘The previous luminaires were fitted into the soffit of the underpass and as this is a concrete strutted roof it would have been impractical to alter it. We needed a solution that could provide a direct replacement for the existing fittings.’

The stainless steel luminaires have been installed on a one-for-one replacement basis, to provide energy savings of more than 50 per cent. The new lighting has increased light levels and uniformity to remove the gloom, while the 4000K neutral white colour temperature has created a better and more inviting visual environment for users of the underpass. The tunnel feels safer and more pleasant.

The project also provided an ideal opportunity to make better use of lighting control. ‘As this is a short underpass the lighting only requires one-step dimming and we were able to adjust the existing system, using high light levels during the day and dimming at night to minimise the contrast for drivers entering the underpass,’ said Broster.

The council has achieved a significant reduction in energy consumption, while also reducing maintenance costs as the luminaires are expected to be virtually maintenance-free throughout their lifetime, and should pay for themselves in about five years.


Learn more about the latest in tunnel lighting at the first Road Tunnel Lighting conference in Barcelona on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 October. The event is free for specifiers, tunnel operators and consultants working in the field. To register, visit www.tunnellightingconference.com