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Tondo Blog

The Tondo team includes highly experienced leaders in outdoor lighting, IoT technology, information security, artificial intelligence, and business analytics.

This is where you’ll find our thoughts on the current and future state of Smart Lighting and Smart City systems.

Smart Lighting Costs and Benefits

The Business Case for Smart Lighting Controls summarizes the costs, savings, and methodologies associated with deploying their advanced lighting solutions.

Understanding the Basics of Smart Street and Area Lighting

n this post, we will explore the basics of smart lighting and introduce Tondo’s innovative solutions that are transforming urban lighting systems worldwide.

The Business Case for Smart Street Lighting as the Smart City Network – 2024 Edition

This paper details all of the key components of the business case for Smart Lighting-enabled Smart City networks, including connected sensors and devices.

The Business Case for Smart Street Lighting as the Smart City Network 

This paper details all of the key components of the business case for Smart Lighting-enabled Smart City networks, including connected sensors and devices.

The Business Case for Smart Street Lighting as the Smart City Network

Owners and managers of street and area lighting need high quality, reliable information to support informed decisions about Smart Lighting and Smart City-related projects. Until now, most of this information has either been scattered across a vast number of academic studies, or websites with unsourced information and marketing-speak.

This article is intended to provide a supportable, accurate framework to help answer these questions:  “Why should our organization care about Smart Street Lighting? What do street lights have to do with our Smart City vision? “

What is the GHG Footprint of Street Lighting?

Replacing incandescent lighting with LED lighting results in a 41% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, a 14% reduction from smart dimming controls and an additional 8% reduction in GHG footprint from Smart Lighting controls. This offers an opportunity for a 22% reduction in GHG footprint using Tondo Smart Lighting.

Smart Lighting Costs and Benefits


As cities around the world continue to adopt smarter, more efficient technologies, the case for smart roadway and area lighting controls becomes clear.

Tondo Smart’s latest white paper, “Business Case for Smart Lighting Controls” provides an in-depth analysis of the costs, savings, and methodologies associated with deploying their advanced lighting solutions. Here, we summarize the key learnings from that analysis, highlighting why Tondo Smart Lighting is an excellent foundational project for Smart City enablement.

For an overview of Tondo’s Smart Lighting solutions, check out this post: Understanding the Basics of Smart Street and Area Lighting.

If you are interested in receiving a free, customized version of this analysis created for your city, please contact us!


Tondo Smart Lighting

Tondo Smart Lighting solutions offer a comprehensive suite of benefits tailored for city streetlight operations and management. These include consistent and safe lighting, a zero-management technology platform, AI-enabled automations, smart city sensor and smart meter integration, safer lighting, improved energy efficiency, a reduced carbon footprint of roadway and area lighting, reduced lighting maintenance costs, remote control and monitoring, AI-enabled fault detection, and seamless integration with existing city operations and maintenance software applications.

Prerequisite: Metered Streetlighting

For cities who own their own lighting assets and are currently on an unmetered rate plan, there is a significant opportunity for savings moving to a metered streetlight rate plan. Most utilities in the U.S. offer metered streetlight rate plans for cities who own their own assets.

In cases where city lighting assets are owned by their utility and electricity is bundled in a streetlight service, a city would need to purchase their energy from a third-party retailer in order to take advantage of metered electricity savings.

43% of electricity sold in the U.S. is sold in 18 “de-regulated” states, enabling cities to purchase electricity from an electricity “retailer” and have it delivered by their current “transmission and delivery utility” partner. As of June 2024, these states include:

California  New Jersey
Connecticut  New York
Delaware  Ohio
Illinois  Oregon
Maine  Pennsylvania
Maryland  Rhode Island
Massachusetts  Texas
Michigan  Virginia
New Hampshire  District of Columbia
U.S. states with de-regulated electricity, June 2024

Current Streetlight Operating Costs: A California City With 10,000 Fixtures

In this example, we consider 10,000 streetlights in a California city within the SCE utility territory. For cities in other jurisdictions, although the precise costs will vary based on their utility rate plans and number of fixtures, and whether they are currently on a metered or unmetered rate plan, and whether their fixtures are owned by the utility or by the city, the costs and benefits will demonstrate significant cash-flow positive benefits.

Tondo offers a free custom analysis for cities based on this model – contact us to let us help you understand your specific costs and benefits.

For this city controlling lights on a “dusk-to-dawn” basis, the current costs are estimated as:

  • Electricity: $911,630
  • Maintenance: $369,789
  • Non-Maintenance Management: $162,876
  • Carbon Credit Offsets: $8,951

The total annual streetlight operating costs used in this analysis are estimated at $1,083,457.

Current total costs of streetlight operations, 10,000 fixtures, SCE territory

Savings from Tondo Smart Lighting

The total cost reduction from deploying Tondo Smart Lighting is estimated at 64.2%, translating to $932,612 in savings for a California city with 10,000 fixtures in the Southern California Edison territory:

  • Energy savings: $782,250
  • Maintenance-related savings: $106,123
  • Non-maintenance management savings: $53,749
  • Carbon credit offset savings: $4,490

This 64.2% reduction in operating costs come from:

  • Migration to metered streetlighting rate plan: 43.1%
  • Correction of over-lighting to standards: 1.7%
  • Adaptive roadway and area lighting control: 8.1%
  • Extended fixture lifecycles and reduced maintenance costs: 7.3%
  • Operational efficiencies: 3.7%
  • Carbon credit offset savings: 0.3%
Sources of costs and benefits from Tondo Smart Lighting controls

This scenario projects a reduction in the cost of streetlight operations from $1,083,457 to $520,633 annually. A Tondo Smart Lighting project for metered streetlighting can full cost recovery in just 3.59 years and offers a 20-year net ROI of $10.6 million, exceeding the estimated value of $6.6m from an LED retrofit project by 59%.

Project Break-Even and 20-Year Net Economic Impact for Metered Streetlighting, 10,000 fixtures, Metered Rate Plan

Project Cost Breakdown

The costs for implementing Tondo’s Smart Lighting solution consider a Southern California city with 10,000 fixtures and include:

  • Tondo Edge IQ Controller: $1,000,000
  • Tondo Cloud IQ CMS SaaS License: $283,560 annually
  • Adaptive Roadway Sensors: $163,350
  • Contractor Installation Costs: $570,813
  • Tondo Project Management Services: $234,165

The total annual project cost used in this analysis is estimated at $2,251,888.


Methodologies for Calculating Savings

Savings from metered electricity rates are based on transitioning from an unmetered to a metered streetlight rate plan, which requires accurate monitoring and billing of electricity consumption. Tondo’s solutions comply with ANSI C12.1 and ANSI C136.50 standards, ensuring precise energy logging and potential migration to metered plans such as SCE LS-3.

Note that many utilities have not yet approved on-fixture energy metering for ANSI C136.50 compliant controls and any meters used under their metered rate plans must be approved for their rate plan use. As such, we have included the $114,771 cost of utility meters in our calculations that would be eliminated in the event your utility approves the use of Tondo’s advanced energy metering capabilities.

Over-Lighting

Savings from correcting over-lighting are calculated by comparing the rated and commissioned wattage of fixtures. For example, an analysis of the City of San Jose’s lighting assets showed an 8.6% over-lighting based on 33% of their assets dimmed, leading to significant savings when dimming is applied appropriately. Given that only one-third of their assets were commissioned as dimmed, we might expect the 8.6% to be significantly under-estimated.

Analysis of over-lighting conditions in the City of San Jose, source: San Jose Open Data, June 2024
Analysis of over-lighting conditions in the City of San Jose, source: San Jose Open Data, June 2024

Adaptive Roadway Lighting

Tondo’s AI-powered adaptive lighting adjusts levels based on real-time conditions, optimizing safety and energy usage. The analysis includes traffic volume data to calculate potential energy savings sampled from Google Maps data over a period of one year, and uses robust roadway classification and lighting asset data available from the City of San Jose’s Open Data portal, offering an opportunity for a 45.1% reduction in lighting levels used to estimate the available electricity savings from Adaptive Roadway Dimming.

Analysis of Adaptive Dimming Using Street Classification and Lighting Asset Data, source: City of San Jose Open Data, June 2024
Analysis of Adaptive Dimming Using Street Classification and Lighting Asset Data, source: City of San Jose Open Data, June 2024
Monthly TCO of Street-Lighting Operations – Southern California Edison Rate Plans, June 2024, 10,000 Fixtures

Extended LED Lamp Lifecycles

Since 2010, “modular” LED fixtures have become available, enabling maintenance crews to replace the LED driver independently of the LED light panel. This can offer significant savings, as the lifecycles of LED light panels may be extended via dimming.

In this case, we assume that a driver may be replaced without replacing the entire fixture, but that the entire fixture would be replaced at the end of the LED light panel life.

By reducing operating temperatures through dimming, Tondo extends the lifecycle of LED light panels, decreasing fixture replacement costs, as has been shown in studies that describe the relationship of power, heat, and LED lifespans. The lifecycle of LED lamps with an average 53.73% dimming according to ANSI/IES RP-8-22 can be extended by 146%, significantly lowering maintenance costs. The methodology used to calculate the expected extended lifecycle is described in detail here: The Business Case for Smart Lighting Controls.

Expected impact of 53.73% dimming on lamp lifecycles correcting for over-lighting and roadway classifications
Expected impact of 53.73% dimming on lamp lifecycles correcting for over-lighting and roadway classifications

Improved Operational Efficiencies

Tondo’s Cloud IQ CMS centralizes and automates streetlight management, providing real-time alerts and actionable insights. This greatly reduces the workload on city operations teams, with an expectation of a 33% efficiency gain and related cost savings.

ANSI/IES RP-8-22, Section 9.8.3 describes a number of expected efficiencies from the use of a CMS : 

Preventive maintenance analysis 

  • Inventory analysis 
  • Work management analysis 
  • Asset management 
  • Electrical system maintenance 
  • Asset tracking 
  • Electrical safety equipment 
  • Power metering and monitoring 
  • Tariffs 
  • Flat rate billing 
  • Metered service 
  • Meter accuracy 

In addition to these basic capabilities, Tondo can provide AI-driven actionable insights such as: 

  • Electrical wiring fault detection 
  • Advanced electricity quality monitoring 
  • Integration with maintenance dispatch systems 
  • Identification of electricity theft 
  • Identification of wire theft 
  • Automation of lighting profile management for standards-based lighting delivery 

Tondo’s Cloud IQ is a fully-managed cloud infrastructure that may be deployed on Tondo’s cloud or a city’s own cloud, eliminating the technology management burden on cities that would otherwise neutralize operational efficiencies, and ensuring cities have data sovereignty for all connected infrastructure.

Carbon Credit Costs and Benefits

With the growing emphasis on sustainability and net-zero carbon initiatives, carbon credit costs and benefits play a crucial role in evaluating smart lighting solutions. Tondo Smart Lighting contributes to carbon reduction efforts by optimizing energy usage and reducing the carbon footprint of streetlighting by the 45.11% savings realized from correcting over-lighting and roadway lighting standards. The source data for the carbon equivalents footprint of SCE’s energy was obtained from www.electricitymaps.com.

These savings, though modest compared to the overall project cost, contribute to the city’s broader sustainability goals. By reducing energy consumption and the associated carbon footprint, Tondo Smart Lighting helps cities meet regulatory requirements and environmental targets.


Conclusion

Tondo Smart Lighting solutions offer a robust, cost-effective approach to modern streetlight management. By leveraging advanced technologies like AI and deep learning, cities can achieve significant economic benefits, enhance safety, and pave the way for smarter infrastructure. As cities continue to seek sustainable and efficient solutions, Tondo Smart Lighting stands out as the leader in transforming roadway and area lighting operations.

For a customized cost-benefit analysis tailored to your city’s specific needs, contact us here at Tondo through this website. For a detailed review of the business case, please refer to the full document available here.

Smart Lighting Costs and Benefits

Smart Lighting Costs and Benefits

The Business Case for Smart Lighting Controls summarizes the costs, savings, and methodologies associated with deploying their advanced lighting solutions.

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