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    Light Your World Blog

    Smart Cities: Lighting the Way to a Sustainable Future and Brighter Lives

    July 5, 2023

    As summer heats up, cities are already feeling the impacts of rising temperatures. And as extreme heat waves become more commonplace each year, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.


    Cities can prepare themselves to act by leveraging something they already own: their streetlighting infrastructure.

    With the addition of sensors and cloud-based management software, streetlights can help cities mitigate the heat island effect, while also providing a strong foundation for the smart city of the future.

    What is the Heat Island Effect?


    City structures, such as buildings and roads, absorb and radiate the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes. The ambient temperature is raised, creating a cyclical problem. The result is an urban heat island – a space with higher-than-average temperatures relative to its surrounding rural areas or areas outside of the city.

    Keeping our cities and citizens cool requires lots of energy, which comes with a price – and not just a monetary one. Excessive heat creates a financial burden on citizens. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 30% of all U.S. households report difficulty paying their energy bills or struggle to cool their homes due to cost concerns.
    Low-income households are hit harder as they tend to live in less energy-efficient homes that are often more expensive to cool. This “energy insecurity” makes it difficult to stay cool, comfortable and healthy during periods of extreme heat.
    Heat islands also put stress on our electrical grids. As more homes and commercial buildings need to cool off, the energy demand becomes greater. Increased demand for air conditioning can overload systems and result in power outages and blackouts.
    This increased use of electricity impacts a city’s sustainability objectives, too. Since utility companies that supply electricity often rely on fossil fuel to power plants, the increased electricity use results in more air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

    While heat islands may pose a threat to citizens’ financial security and cities’ sustainability goals, the most significant impact of these conditions is the direct impact on citizens’ health and wellbeing. Alone or compounded with other climate issues, excessive heat can result in discomfort, illness and even death from heat exposure.


    There are a variety of solutions to help mitigate heat islands, including planting trees, painting building facades lighter and repaving asphalt roads with lighter colored materials, but one of the most exciting – and perhaps unexpected – comes in the form of streetlighting.

    Signify’s Outdoor multi-sensor street lighting

    'Smarter' Temperature and Environmental Monitoring


    Signify’s Outdoor multi-sensor, designed for Zhaga D4i-certified outdoor luminaires, can help cities extend the value of their existing streetlighting beyond illumination. The award-winning technology can help cities track climate conditions by collecting environmental data, such as ambient temperature, which it shares with the Interact connected lighting system.


    Our Interact connected lighting system can visualize the sensor’s data and highlight trends for city planners to create an effective heat mitigation strategy. For instance, it can help reduce electrical grid capacity by spotlighting energy-savings opportunities.

    Mount Vernon, New York is one city that is taking advantage of this connected lighting technology to support its citizens’ quality of life. It can leverage the environmental data gathered by Signify’s Outdoor multi-sensor to communicate preventive health information to the public in the event of extreme heat (or even cold), for example.


    For cities impacted by heat islands, this technology could be a game changer.

    Signify Helps Mount Vernon NY with Connected Lighting Technology
    All in all, when connected, a city’s lighting can illuminate the path to a brighter, smarter future. To learn more, visit our website.


    Lindsey Mulrooney
    Lindsey Mulrooney

    Post tags

    Smart city, energy efficiency, sustainability, connected lighting, smart city infrastructure, Smart Streetlighting, public spaces, urban areas, digital world, digital pathway, connected sensors, urban infrastructure, wireless communication technologies, Internet-of-Things, cameras, multiple sensors, public lighting systems, public ways, streets, bridges, parks, shopping areas, parking lots and schools, city planners, city leaders, sensors, traffic, air quality, pedestrian safety, noise detection, connected lighting systems, city infrastructure, infrastructure upgrades, smart lighting, conversion to LED lighting fixtures, electrical contractors, smart nodes, cellular, cellular-connected lighting systems, Interact City, energy savings, heat islands, climate

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