What I believe: George Angelis

I have many responsibilities

I have over 25 years of experience in local government, working in all aspects of civil engineering for urban councils. The job encompasses many areas and I am responsible for key sustainable projects – including the rollout of LED lighting in the City of Sydney.

People have to be encouraged to accept new technology

One of the biggest challenges is getting people to accept that new technology is available – and finding that technology in Australia. I’m always encouraging people to seek the technology out. With LED being digital, I believe the technology will be able to provide more than light, it can be used for everything that needs data.

One of the biggest challenges is getting people to accept that new technology is available

LED technology and smart LED technology, which can control the intensity of the light, is being recognised in Australia, but it’s not covered in Australian standards. We’ve trialled some smart lights in George Street, and from an asset management point of view they are advantageous. Generally, LEDs don’t fail, but it’s good to know when the lights are out and need replacing or repairing.

We’ve also trialled dimming lights and they are impressive – even at 50 per cent output the light on the ground is still there. At the time of the city’s LED rollout, smart controls were just too expensive for the benefits they give.

We are learning all the time

We look at just about everything – the risk, design, effectiveness and efficiency, life span and warranty. As well as LEDs we’ve considered solar-powered lighting and have done some retrofits using solar power. The upgrade to Sydney’s central business district streets, plazas and parks was by far the biggest project, and the City of Sydney will replace close to 6,500 conventional lights with LEDs.

Aesthetics are important

Appearance is important in Sydney because of the number of visitors we receive. We want them to have a good experience. The energy provider generally owns the poles, but we’ve also installed smart poles with luminaires in many areas. These poles allow multiple pole-mounted accessories such as CCTV cameras and banners. The visitor experience is enhanced because the ‘clutter’ that typically accumulates in any busy and growing city is reduced.

The project is part of the new central business district and South East Light Rail that will extend from Circular Quay along George Street to Central Station and on to Moore Park, then to Kingsford via Anzac Parade and Randwick via Alison Road and High Street. The NSW Government expects light rail to be operating in 2019. Although the major infrastructure project is being delivered by the NSW government, the City of Sydney is contributing AUS$220 million (£112 million) towards it, which includes funding for the transformation of George Street and the improvement of surrounding laneways.

Innovative visual effects

We have also installed other streetlighting systems that enhance the visitor experience. The catenary system of lights in Pitt Street is a ladder-like series of lights supported by a Ronstan high-tension stainless steel cable framework.

The system illuminates the pedestrian areas below and the façades of the buildings without large self-standing poles or heavy-looking supports. The 16m-high tensile cable web is almost invisible, with bowstring support cables anchored every 20m into the façades of the buildings along the mall. The catenary lights themselves comprise long tubes, combining downward illumination and a sequence of LEDs along the vertical length that can be programmed to emit different colours depending on seasonal requirements – reflecting specific mood s and occasions.

Warranties are important when assessing light sources

Quality and the lifespan of the light are generally the first things I look at, but choosing warranties is also important – we have achieved good parts, labour and materials warranties on many products. When it comes to new products, there is a lot of information coming from North America and Europe however this can be slow to get to Australia. We’ve found you need to be part of a network to find out about emerging products, so the city joined the Climate Group to share information with other big cities. 

  • Smart cities will be discussed at LuxLive Middle East 2016 on Wednesday 13 April and Thursday 14 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Entry is free if you register HERE.