Avans University of Applied Sciences leads major research project on smart public lighting

Avans University of Applied Sciences and 8 European partners are launching a large-scale research project focusing on the use of smart public lighting. The aim is to team up with a number of governmental and educational institutions over the next 3 years to find solutions that help cut carbon emissions produced through public lighting. The starting conference of the Smart Light Concepts project took place during the 2018 Space and Lighting trade fair on 5 June 2018.

Starting conference

Please watch a video impression of the starting conference below.

Research project

LEDs in all streetlamps, lights that dim at night or don’t switch on until someone walks by or lighting that can be remotely controlled. These are just some examples of lighting applications that Avans and project partner Portsmouth University will be looking into over the next 3 years. Smart Light Concepts will receive a total of €3.5 million in funding during this period.

Significant gains

Local and regional authorities in Europe are behind on their 2020 carbon reduction goals. Public lighting accounts for approximately 35% of CO2 emissions, meaning significant gains can be achieved in this area. These emissions can be reduced drastically by applying new and existing technologies to public lighting.

“So far, however, results have only been achieved on a small scale. The failure of local and regional government agencies to use smart public lighting is due to a number of factors. These include uncertainty about financial aspects, a lack of knowledge and uncertainty about the impact on nature, public safety and road safety. The Smart Light Concepts project aims to change this situation, helping them to achieve their ultimate goal: reducing CO2 emissions through the use of sustainable public lighting concepts”, says Nies Rijnders, Project Manager and Manager of the Avans Centre of Expertise Sustainable Business.

Promoting low-carbon technologies

Funded by the EU, Smart Light Concepts will develop a number of methods, tools and concepts to help promote the use of low-carbon technologies for public lighting. To this end, the research group will set up 7 pilot projects focusing on different low-carbon lighting techniques, including dimming, remote, sensors, dynamic optimisation and low voltage. These pilot projects will be conducted in different environments, such as the countryside, urban areas, a nature reserve and an industrial estate.

The project spans 4 countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Great Britain. Intended research project outcomes include funding models, business cases, public engagement and support and a cross-border knowledge platform. The related objective is to encourage local and regional government agencies to switch to smart public lighting. The project also includes a comprehensive feasibility study on 7 low-carbon technologies that can be used for other projects.


The aim of Smart Light Concepts is to get more than 200 organisations and businesses from participating and non-participating countries involved in this project. These may include government agencies, lighting businesses, nature conservation organisations and public-interest entities.


As lead partner of the Smart Light Concepts project, Avans University of Applied Sciences collaborates with 8 government agencies and organisations from Belgium, France and Great Britain: University of Portsmouth Higher Education Corporation, Municipality of Etten-Leur, Suffolk County Council, Metropole of Amiens, City of Bruges, West Flanders Intermunicipal Association, IGEMO and Province of West Flanders.


Smart Light Concepts is an Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 project. Interreg 2 Seas is a European Territorial Cooperation programme for England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders). The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) financially supports Smart Light Concepts.