Beware of unproven LED product claims, Norwegian tunnel operators warned

Tunnel engineers in Norway have been warned to be wary of grand claims about the performance of LED lights, and to approach unproven products with caution.

The Norwegian roads authority is in the process of upgrading lights in 200 tunnels as part of a $500 million, four-year improvement programme that will also see improvements made to ventilation, cabling and emergency equipment.

In a presentation at the authority’s annual technical conference, chief engineer Per Ole Wanvik said LED lighting should be considered for all new tunnels and refurbishments, because of its long life, low energy consumption and ability to dim. But he also urged caution regarding unproven products, and advised engineers to specify their requirements carefully to make sure they get the quality they need in LED products.

Wanvik also noted that LED technology is advancing quickly - between 2013 and 2014, the luminaires available for one tunnel lighting project had become 27 per cent more energy efficient, with better uniformity, a more comfortable colour temperature and fewer fittings required.

Norway has been dabbling in LED technology for tunnels since 2004, and opened its first all-LED tunnel (the Brekk tunnel, pictured above) in 2013. It now has 26 tunnels that use LEDs, with lights from suppliers including AEC, Thorn and Defa. These include the world’s longest LED-lit tunnel – the 10.7km Toven tunnel.