New environmental criteria for public lighting

A few months ago, the Italian Minister of the Environment has signed the decree that updates the CAM, the Minimum Environmental Criteria. These regulations regulate the energy efficiency of public lighting installations, included in the National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement, aka GPP NAP.

The decree is extremely important, both for Public Administrations and for professionals that from today should commit themselves to respect the new environmental criteria concerning public lighting. These rules establish the technical features of the light sources, the purchasing methods and regulate the assignment of the design and of the maintenance services for public lighting systems.


The objectives of the new Minimum Environmental Criteria

According to the Italian Government, the new CAM have three specific targets:

  • improve the energy efficiency of public lighting;
  • increase the life of new installations;
  • reduce the rate of breakdowns and malfunctions of lighting points.

The main objective is clear: to improve the energy efficiency of public installations while attempting to reduce the costs related to their maintenance and repairs. More specifically, these last two aspects are indicated as priorities by the Ministry itself. As matter of fact the State has to deal with the scarcity of economic resources of Public Administrations, but at the same time, it has also to guarantee a quality service to its citizens.

Still, according to the Ministry of the Environment, the most urgent interventions will concern the replacement of old public lighting installations, that represent a waste of energy estimated to be over 30% of the total lighting consumption. In Italy, about one in three installations is still obsolete, with an average life expectancy of just 20 years, well below the life expectancy offered by new installations able to ensure an average life of up to 3 times higher.

Since the cost for public lighting weighs on the budget of local authorities for about 20% of total expenditure, it goes without saying that it is necessary to be able to save on this topic. In fact, the new measures should represent up to 500 million euro of savings per year, allowing local Administrations to allocate part of these resources to social spending.

Furthermore, among the objectives of the new Minimum Environmental Criteria there are also the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the lowering of public energy demand, the improvement of the quality of the service and the installation of new lighting systems where needed, or whether they are not sufficiently connected with the rest of the public lighting network.


General features of the new CAM

Let’s have a closer look at what has been changed in the new CAM and what are the current regulations concerning public lighting.

First of all, as far as light sources are concerned, the decree does not affect certain public installations, including galleries, private car parks, sports fields, private areas such as malls and industrial plants and artistic lighting, i.e. those lighting relating to museums and monuments.

The new lighting installations will have to exclusively use:

  • LED modules;
  • high intensity discharge lamps;
  • light sources with reduced environmental impact.

On the new CAM, all the mandatory technical specifications for lighting installations are specified and are divided according to the model, the nominal power of the lamp or of the LED module. For example, high-pressure sodium lamps, with a power rating from 45 to 55 W and a colour rendering index lower than 60, must ensure a light efficiency coefficient of more than 80lm / W for light lamps, while for opals lamps it must be above 70lm / W.

Equally important are the survival factors of the installations of lighting sources, which must be specified and respond to the new technical criteria required by the CAM standards. For instance, metal-halide lamps and high pressure sodium lamps will be required to have a life survival factor of more than 80 for every 12,000 operating hours.

Finally, technical specifications of road lighting appliances have been changed too. According to the new regulation road lighting appliances will have to respect the following minimum values:

  • IP optical compartment 65;
  • IP wiring compartment 55;
  • category of light intensity higher than G2;
  • shock resistance IK06;
  • surge protection 4kV.

The decree specifies the minimum technical features for each public installation, depending on whether they are large areas and roundabouts, pedestrian areas and bike lanes, green areas or historic centres. The energy performance will follow the ​​indicated values according to the IPEA index, with reference to the energy classification of the appliances, A, A +, A ++ and An +.


Rules for tenders

Within the new environmental criteria for public lighting, the regulations regarding tenders have changed, both in terms of lighting sources provision and installation. Tender participants must guarantee that the staff assigned to the installations is qualified. They will need to show a proof of their qualification with valid certificates and documents, to ensure that the job will be carried out in a workmanlike manner as required by the technical difficulty of the installations.

In the CAM it is also established that those suppliers who guarantee a total or partial warranty on their products will be preferred in the awarding of public contracts by public administrations and local authorities. More specifically, reward points will be awarded to those companies that can guarantee a failure rate of less than 12% for every 50,000 operating hours.

Some revised points concern the management of electrical and electronic waste. It was established that suppliers will have to guarantee the collection, the transport and the treatment of light sources in landfills, relying exclusively on authorized landfills for the treatment of this type of materials, i.e. those that are classified as WEEE, in accordance with art.13 and 24 of the Italian Legislative Decree n.49 of 14 March 2014.


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