Hamilton and Waikato show the way with ‘warm white’ LED street lighting


Hamilton and Waikato drivers and residents are the first in New Zealand to experience unique warmer streetlights that reduce spillover glare into houses, are less harsh on the eyes and more energy efficient

Over 15,000 new street luminaires have been custom-made by Philips for Hamilton and the Waikato’s conditions, with half already in place and the rest being installed by the end of the year.

While numerous districts throughout New Zealand have replaced older HID lights with LEDs, Hamilton and Waikato are the first to specify a 3000 Kelvin luminaire which provides an atmospheric form of ‘warm white’ lighting.

This is a less harsh and more welcoming light compared to the more common 4000 Kelvin LEDs which produce a cooler blue-white light similar to daylight.

As a fast-growing city, many of Hamilton’s major arterial roads lie in residential areas with high housing density.

The lighting must both provide safety for drivers while not spilling over into people’s homes.

In addition, New Zealand street light poles are often more spaced out than those in other countries so light has to reach between poles but not outwards or upwards towards homes.

The $7.2 million project, funded by the NZ Transport Agency with contributions from Waikato District and Hamilton City Councils, covers all roads throughout the council areas and is scheduled for completion in December.

It is being managed by the Infrastructure and Waikato Alliances, a strategic partnership between the councils and Downer, with Cory’s supplying 16,000 Philips ‘Road Grace’ luminaires.

Over 9,300 existing lights will be upgraded on the two council’s P category residential roads and 5700 along higher volume V category roads.

The new LEDs fit into existing street light poles and infrastructure, are more energy efficient and require less maintenance, with Hamilton expecting to save over $250,000 in reduced power and maintenance costs in the first year, and almost $550,000 in 2019/20.

Infrastructure Alliance Operations Manager Shaun Peterson, says: “We wanted to do the very best for our residents rather than simply replace existing streetlights with more of the same.

“Philips developed a highly innovative luminaire which offered the best lighting spread for our increasingly high-density city where even the busier V category roads have significant street front housing.”

For this project Philips also developed a new form of streamlined, 100% recyclable cardboard packaging to ship the 16,000 units, which will save the Councils an estimated $40,000 in disposal fees.

Waikato District Alliance Maintenance Contract Manager Todd Mylchreest says Waikato District will “greatly benefit” from the upgrade of street lights from high pressure sodium bulbs to an LED soft lighting solution.

“Benefits include lower energy consumption, less light pollution and a reduction in short term maintenance requirements.”

LED lighting provides a better quality of light and colour contrast resulting in increased road user visibility and road safety.

“The requirement for less frequent maintenance will also reduce the amount of time our staff are exposed to risks associated with working at height and working around road traffic, while minimizing associated disruption to the public,” Mylchreest adds.

Several technical enhancements were introduced to manage light pollution.

The luminaire’s output can be adjusted manually on individual poles without an expensive Control Management System.

A narrow band amber light is being developed for light sensitive zones like the Hamilton Observatory, which was once outside the city’s limits but is now much closer to lit residential areas.

“This project required a large volume of product to be supplied and installed to strict deadlines in order to qualify for NZ Transport Agency funding,” says Cory’s Electrical Branch Manager Steve Donaldson.

“Philips’ customer service, logistical and design support ensured the project ran efficiently and to schedule.”

Philips is currently designing customised walkway lighting which minimises light spill into neighbouring houses from adjacent poles.

“Hamilton City and Waikato District Council have proved to be test-beds for innovation, providing the catalyst to develop a new luminaire and a recyclable packaging solution which will now benefit other communities in New Zealand,” Philips Lighting NZ, Public Segment Manager Allan Stephenson adds.

“We support the development of 3000k ‘warm white’ lighting solutions to provide a positive physiological experience, reduce light pollution and protect our valuable dark skies.”