Lighting at Mahon, Cork; Lighting at Mahon, Cork;

National Public Lighting Energy Efficiency Project, Ireland

Retrofitting Ireland's public lighting to deliver on 2030 sustainability targets

Governments and local authorities around the world are working to improve the resilience of their cities to manage the growing risks of climate change and meet the objectives of local and global commitments, such as the EU Green Deal.

In Ireland, public sector organisations are aiming to improve energy efficiency by 50% by 2030 under the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan.

Working with local authorities, Arup is retrofitting approximately 205,000 public lights across the country to enable carbon, energy and cost savings. With the potential to reduce the carbon output of Ireland’s public lighting by up to 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, 50% of the current output, our electrical, environmental and digital experts are designing and advising on the upgrade.

As project and cost managers, we are working closely with the local authorities on coordinating the upgrading of existing assets with new LED luminaires. Once completed, the project will conservatively save local authorities €200 million in energy and maintenance cost savings over a 20-year period.

The Public Lighting Energy Efficiency Project spans 21 local authorities. Split into three phases, Arup is working in collaboration with RPS Group on the North-west, South-west and Eastern Regions.

Project Summary


205,000 public lights

21local authorities

20,000tonnes/yearpotential CO2 savings

Arup shares our commitment to leading on climate action and has helped us to take a long-term view of this upgrade, advising on the optimal technology to maximise energy and cost savings, while minimising future maintenance requirements. ” Ken Boland Senior Project Manager for the Public Lighting Energy Efficiency Project for the Eastern Region

Managing assets proactively

Long-term proactive management of public lighting assets was an important objective for the local authorities.

The programme makes significantly greater contributions to the country’s overall energy resilience compared to the 25% statutory requirements; once completed, it will see almost 100% of public lighting assets in the project areas retrofitted with reliable, low maintenance LED luminaires.

By bringing existing assets to a maintainable and safe condition, the project will facilitate accurate monitoring of asset performance and assist with future asset management strategies, maximising cost and energy savings. Using a web-based platform the site team can ensure the contractor achieves the asset management and delivery goals.

Environmentally sensitive lighting design

Our environmental consultants carried out extensive environmental assessments to determine the potential impacts of new LED luminaires on wildlife, particularly in Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).

Engaging with the International Dark-Sky Association, our lighting team developed tailored lighting specifications to ensure obsolete lighting was replaced with correct colour temperature LEDs.

A coordinated national approach

Our multidisciplinary experts have developed strategies and retrofit guidance documents which can be used by all local authorities. By undertaking asset management research and preparing public lighting specifications, we have ensured that a coordinated approach can be taken across all local authorities. To maintain a high standard for all retrofit activities, we compiled survey requirements with an emphasis on energy efficiency, as well as supporting with the appointment of contractors. We have assisted the three lead authorities in procuring contactors for all the projects using a New Engineering Contract (NEC), enabling active management of risk, cost and change.

Working with RPS, Arup is currently supervising the construction phase of the South-west Region and the procurement and construction phase of the North-west Region. In the Eastern Region, Arup is working with RPS on the construction management and supervision phase.

The National Public Lighting Energy Efficiency Project is due for completion in 2025.

Arup is proud to be working on this ambitious project – part of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and an instrumental initiative in driving Ireland towards net zero. ” Kevin O'Sullivan Kevin O’Sullivan Associate Director