Tauw has developed, in collaboration with LSC (Light Surface Control), Recycling Light, a new, sustainable method of street lighting guidance that is comparable to the "glow in the dark" effect. Light is captured from vehicle headlamps and then continues to glow over a longer period.
With this innovation, Tauw has been nominated as 1 of the 3 candidates for the 2012 Enlightenmentz of the Year Election. In addition, Recycling Light is among the 10 finalists for the 2012 EEP (European Environmental Press) Award.
What distinguishes Recycling Light from other sustainable alternatives is that it does not require electricity from the national grid or a battery to store energy. Recycling Light is a method of street lighting guidance which captures the light of vehicle headlamps, concentrates it and returns it to road users over a longer period.
The light of a passing headlamp is concentrated using a lens and stored in photoluminescent material. Photoluminescent material can be compared to the glow-in-the-dark stars sold in toy shops which keep glowing at night for a number of hours. Recycling Light can be applied to bollards or mounted on crash barriers.
In the Netherlands practical tests with Recycling Light showed very positive results. The object continued to glow over a long period and gave sufficient light output. Since Recycling Light does not require electricity, the use of materials such as lampposts or maintenance, it is up to 60% cheaper in terms of investment compared to standard public lighting.
Tauw conceived the idea of Recycling Light because many street lights are on all night whereas only a few road users actually make use of them. This results in not only unnecessary energy consumption, obtrusive light and light pollution, but also in unnecessary costs. Public lighting accounts for as much as 60% of local authority energy consumption. Moreover, many of these lights are located outside urban areas and serve mainly as orientation lighting/guidance for drivers to facilitate early assessment of the course of the road and dangerous traffic conditions.