Street lighting in Helsinki will be upgraded in phases to more energy-efficient lights. In Kalevankatu, the upgrade has been carried out respecting traditions when custom-made LED light sources were installed in the old-fashioned vintage hanging lights dating back to the 1930s.
When street lighting is upgraded, in addition to energy efficiency, the historical cityscape aspect is also taken into account in lighting design. In Kalevankatu between Mannerheimintie and Yrjönkatu, LED lights were replaced with old 1930s lights. The original so-called small Y lights were replaced with a larger model of the same family of light fittings, found in the recycling storeroom. That way, it was possible for the light fittings to accommodate new electronics and the required cooling. - The old light fittings of Kalevankatu are part Helsingin Energia’s own collection, explains Unit Head Olli Markkanen of Helsingin Energia.
– When upgrading the lights, we wanted to respect the original idea of the lights, i.e. in addition to lighting the street area, the lights also shine onto the facades of buildings. The breakthrough in LED technology provides an opportunity to save energy and also preserve old historical lights. As the LED technology develops rapidly, it may be possible that even smaller Y light fittings will be able to accommodate the required technology in the near future. Therefore, the lights that were now replaced have been stored in case of any future reuse.
In addition to Kalevankatu, the same kinds of LED lights were also replaced at Eerikinkatu 1. The LED tests of old light fittings were started in Välikatu already in 2010. Based on experiences gained in these tests, it is worth considering whether LEDs should be replaced with historical lights also in the future. In Helsinki, key buildings, bridges, statues and parks are also lit up in addition to streets, parks and squares. The city’s street lighting network includes approximately 86,000 lights and 1,600 streetlight cabinets.