Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

On Thursday 28 August the ACT branch held a technical meeting on the topics ‘TaMS Design Standards for Streetlighting and Specifying Columns’. The event was kindly sponsored by Ingal and Illuminating solutions.
The event was held at the Canberra Business Events Centre, at Regatta Point. This location has a particularly good view over Lake Burley Griffin where at this hour you can see the energetic locals having their morning walk, run or cycle. Food was plentiful and varied; the Danishes were particularly delicious.

Chris DeChamps, the TaMS streetlighting coordinator began the event with a description of his roles and responsibilities. One example Chris is quite proud of was the replacement of old mercury vapour lamps with compact fluorescent lamps. This replacement has reduced a considerable amount of energy from the ACT streetlighting network.


Chris’s presentation evolved into an explanation for his resistance to releasing a new update of streetlighting standards for the ACT. The background behind this resistance is that the government is considering privatising the ownership of streetlighting within the ACT. This move, as Chris explains, creates uncertainty regarding the aims and goals for the future of streetlighting within the ACT.


Chris then continued by showing examples of what direction he would like to avoid. These examples included:

- Installations where two poles could be replaced by a single pole and a double outreach.

- Installations where poles were lighting an area that was already lit.

- Installations where old poles that were made redundant with the new installation were not removed.


The overall message was - design to reduce maintenance and power consumption, that way we will reduce the cost to the tax payer.


Several questions were pitched to Chris, in particular relating to installations of LED luminaires. It was explained that approval of luminaires can be difficult as streetlighting runs on an unmetered supply. There are particular tests required to approve luminaires on unmetered supplies. These test relate to understanding the electricity consumption of those luminaires. An alternative would be to meter the supply for a group of streetlights.


The second part of the technical meeting related to the poles used for streetlighting. Ingal were able to walk us through the construction quality and standards that relate to poles. It was interesting to note how these standards change based on location, for example the slip base poles in Western Australia have a much higher torque wrench setting than the rest of the country. It was suggested that if you are going to crash into a pole, you’re safer not to do it over there.


One part of this presentation that absorbed everybody’s attention was the car crash videos. Ingal had filmed several test videos relating to frangible poles. These videos showed both impact absorbing and slip base poles. Everyone was amazed to see how well the impact absorbing poles controlled the deceleration of cars.


Question were raised, particularly in relation to the best way to specify poles to ensure the desired outcome. It seems in the ACT we have not been good at specifying poles appropriately, and perhaps the solution is to use the same level of detail as we do when specifying luminaires.


By the end of this technical meeting, all who attended came away with a greater understanding of streetlighting in the ACT and the poles’ construction. While all those who attended will probably now have more questions when designing streetlighting, they will now know what to ask and where to find the answers.


[text : Scott Leslie-McCarthy]