Energy-efficient heritage lighting for the Vale of Glamorgan

How do you balance the competing demands of preserving the heritage of a town while moving towards more modern and efficient lighting technology? It’s a dilemma faced by many communities, but we successfully tackled it. 

The Vale of Glamorgan is a popular destination in South Wales, with picturesque towns, rolling countryside and a dynamic coastline. The Vale is also home to Cardiff Airport, making it a convenient location for tourists.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Project Zero aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Streetlighting is central to this commitment. In order to fulfil this objective, the council have launched many lantern upgrade projects on residential roads as well as installing new LED streetlights along strategic routes. As part of this wider project, the heritage lighting of Penarth had to be tackled to reduce the carbon footprint produced by street lighting and improve the aged lighting within these areas.

Key project requirements

  • To significantly improve energy efficiency compared to traditional lanterns.
  • Seamless integration of modern technology while maintaining the original beauty of the Victorian-style cast iron columns
  • A solution which is built to withstand the challenges such as coastal weather conditions and temperature fluctuations

Our Solution

Matt Buckley, Street Lighting Officer, Vale of Glamorgan Council, says, “One of the key advantages of upgrading lanterns to LED is the significant improvement in energy efficiency. Compared to traditional lighting, LED lights consume considerably less energy, resulting in reduced running costs and a smaller carbon footprint. LED lights are also known for their longevity, lasting significantly longer than other lighting options with fewer maintenance costs and fewer disruptions.” 

As a result, Acrospire’s Birkdale lanterns, which boast a classic design, have been installed throughout Penarth, adding to the town’s historical aesthetic. The lanterns are manufactured using a high-pressure die-casting process, finished in a Marine grade paint, which ensures durability.

Matt, continues, “LED lights are built to withstand challenges such as weather conditions and temperature fluctuations as they are inherently durable and resistant to shock and vibrations. Unlike traditional lighting option, LED’s do not contain fragile filaments or glass components, making them less susceptible to damage.”

The 4000K LED array lanterns also feature a unique LED lighting system with low power consumption while providing high-quality, uniform light.

In addition to the Birkdale lanterns, Acrospire’s Muirfield lanterns have been installed at various locations throughout Penarth. These lanterns are designed to be energy-efficient and are equipped with an LED chip on board engine that offers up to 100,000 hours of life.

During the upgrade project, residents expressed their desire to preserve the town’s original Victorian cast iron columns. However, the columns were not feasible to use with the newer technology due to their current state. 

Victorian-style cast iron columns are known for their ornate details, intricate design and historic appeal. When refurbishing these cast iron columns, it was crucial to maintain their authenticity and charm to preserve the identity of Penarth. The introduction of LED lighting allowed for a seamless integration of modern technology while keeping the original beauty and character of the structure.

Martyn Rich, Area Sales Manager, Acrospire, says, “Penarth residents are incredibly proud of the town’s heritage, so we worked closely with the council to establish an arrangement where the old cast columns could work with the new lanterns.” The Victorian style columns are architectural treasures that add charm and elegance to any space. These timeless structures have withstood the test of time, but as we embrace the advancements of the modern era, it is important to find ways to blend the old with the new.

Most recently, the Muirfield lanterns have been installed at Penarth Marina, running along the waterfront. These lanterns provide bright and efficient lighting while enhancing the aesthetics of the waterfront area.

By implementing its innovative lighting solution, Acrospire was able to help reduce the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s carbon footprint by 7.32 Tonne annually and reduce energy consumption and the associated costs by 83% while preserving its unique character and history. The residents can now enjoy the benefits of modern technology without sacrificing the charm and ambience of their beloved community.

Matt concludes, “Acrospire has been a trusted lighting manufacturer for the Vale of Glamorgan for a long time, and their products have always impressed us with their quality. While we considered other manufacturers for our projects, we found that Acrospire’s solutions best fit our preferences and budget. Working with the Area Sales Manager Martyn Rich has been a pleasure, as he’s always willing to visit the site, discuss options, and provide effective solutions. We value our partnership with Acrospire and look forward to working with them in the future.”


Values are estimated from UMSUG figures:

  • kg CO2 taken from kWh.              0.46219
  • Energy costs per kWh                  41.3