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The emblematic Las Canteras beach (Playa de las Canteras), on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, is showing off new outdoor lighting. It is an innovative, creative and - most importantly - efficient project, compliant with a set of very strict requirements governing sustainability, light pollution and design in a community that is especially sensitive to light and the environmental impact of its lighting resources.
The Las Canteras beach is considered the ecological pearl of Gran Canaria. Located in the heart of the capital city, this urban beach is the oceanfront spot that is preferred by most of the city's inhabitants and foreign visitors, who can enjoy it at any time of the year thanks to the island's mild climate.
Architect Carlos Hernández and the GE Lighting team dreamed together of how they wanted the beach to be lighted. The City Council had some very clear objectives for this project: to illuminate the seafront walk and the sand with elements that would harmonize with their surroundings and convey an integral look, and that would attenuate the impact of the installations on their surroundings to the greatest possible extent. By strolling along the beach, they discovered how they wanted each lighting point to be, and they submitted their vision to the design competition organized by the City Council. Among the 12 designs submitted, GE Lighting and Carlos Hernández succeeded in gaining the unanimous approval of their conception, which they called “City Lights”. The lighting point to illuminate the beach was inspired by the design of the Lateen Sail, a model that consists of a vertical shaft with an arc that simulates the figure of a traditional Canary Island sail.
GE Lighting took into account the importance of the Sky Act, legislation which has come to mean so much in the Canary Islands over the past 20 years, and they took the necessary measurements, using the photometry that was best suited to each case. They calculated the optimum outdoor lighting solution for such a representative place on Gran Canaria island.
Results & Benefits
SAVINGS IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND MAINTENANCE
The 79 lighting assemblies installed generate energy savings of 30% in terms of power consumption, which translates into approximately a €30,000 annual saving in the city's power bill. The entire outdoor lighting system is controlled through six distribution frames, each equipped with a voltage stabilizer and a luminous flux reducer, which enables the level of illumination on the beach to be reduced from certain hours of the night onward.
These lighting fixtures replace 28 previously existing towers, high power consumers whose approximately 30-meter height made the use of a special fire department crane indispensable when servicing them. The “Lateen Sails”, from 12 to 16 meters in height, are easily accessed and can be maintained with the public lighting service cranes.
Thanks to the ceramic arc metal halide lamps, safety on the oceanfront walk has improved substantially, since the white light they cast improves color reproduction. The new fixtures have also succeeded in ensuring more uniform lighting by eliminating areas of strong light and dense shadow, thanks to the reduction of the distance between columns, which has dropped from between 80 and 170 meters to 37 meters.
Plans include lighting the neighboring zones immediately behind the oceanfront. This will contribute to improving visibility in the area, which at some points is not safe at night.
In this design it was highly important to comply with the standards governing light pollution and to minimize the effects of the direct emission of light toward the upper hemisphere (the sky). This led the technicians to direct the projectors toward the ground to avoid blinding glare and light intrusion in the nearby buildings. Regarding the Ocean Floor Protection Act, GE Lighting proposed not directing the light toward the water to avoid disturbing shore life.
This design is the result of a painstaking effort to create innovative and sustainable outdoor lighting in an area whose population is especially concerned about the effects of light on the environment. Esthetics are also a differential factor in a design that stands out because of its complexity and efficient results on all levels.
Some details round out the installation: for example, the integration of a public address system in the lighting fixture columns and an astronomic clock that adjusts itself to turn the lighting on and off.
Armando Cabrera and Ana González, who are in charge of GE Lighting on the island of Gran Canaria, commented, “This is a very special place for all the island's inhabitants. This renovation will mean a substantial improvement in the area in safety, the environment and quality of life in the city. What's more, it reduces the city's power bill, and thus avoids having to burn solid fuels that emit CO2 into our atmosphere.”