“Watch out, it’s getting dark!”† Difficult to reconcile public lighting, ecological ambitions and safety. However, this is the challenge that a computer engineer from Normandy set himself by creating the “I light up my street” application. This innovative device allows cities to turn off public lighting at night, while residents have access to a tool to illuminate their streets on their way home.
“I heard a lot about cities wanting to turn off the lights at night for budget and light pollution reasons. But some residents were against it, mainly for safety reasons”explains Olivier Bozzetto, computer engineer and creator of the application on Sustainable information†
Thanks to boxes installed in electricity meters, the public lighting can be controlled from your smartphone. “To activate the light where you are, just press the “lamp” button that changes color, we can read on the site. The lighting remains active for a community-defined time (e.g. 15 minutes). Thanks to geolocation, the crossed areas are automatically switched on or off as you move.”
The solution created in 2016 is now used in a handful of cities, but this year the creator hopes to spread its use to around thirty cities, including Tour in Indre-et-Loire.
It must be said that the system has something to seduce. Because arranging public lighting not only means a reduction in the city’s electricity bill, but also allows the fauna and flora to find a rhythm in harmony with nature. Far from the harmful effects of light pollution.
According to ADEME, public lighting at night does indeed have a major impact on biodiversity. It disturbs insects such as moths, but also certain birds and changes the flowering period of plants. “Some municipalities have told me that after installing the device, animals such as owls or bats seem to reappear,” says the founder of I light up my street†
As for the wallet, if the installation has costs – 1,200 euros for three boxes, plus that of the subscription, 120 euros per year – the device remains economically very advantageous. Indeed, Franck Guéguéniat, the mayor of the village of Epron (Calvados) who decided to install the tool in his town in early 2022, made his calculations: “according to the recommendations of the SDEC (Syndicat d’énergie du Calvados) we can save between 6,000 and 10,000 euros in electricity annually”.
Economical and ecological, this innovative solution seems to have it all… You still have to have a battery on your phone when you get home!