Thursday, March 19, 2009

For a good green glow...

This very smart UK technology helps to promote and extend the use of green infrastructure! TraxEyes glow in the dark marker studs can ensure a safe route along pathways, cyclepaths, canal towpaths, mooring points and jetties, bridleways, camping and caravan sites and parks in conditions that would otherwise be low or no light – and they do it in an extremely effective, economical and environmentally-friendly way! Its no wonder that Bristol City Council, British Waterways and English Heritage are experimenting with them.

The studs glow because of photoluminescence – they absorb light energy in daylight and then emit light at night. Amazingly they emit good light for twelve hours of darkness after a mere eight minutes of exposure to daylight! One stud costs just £3.89! A box of twenty studs, enough to cover 50 metres of cyclepath, costs just £77.80. If electrical lighting was used for the same distance, the cost of hardware installation alone would be much greater – add in maintenance and energy use and costs exceed the total cost of using TraxEye studs each and every month!

Councils like Bristol spend a significant portion of their budget on electricity for lighting. Bills run to millions! It costs from £36 to £90 a year to run just one street light as opposed to zero running cost of the studs. Bristol City Council has opted to try out the studs in St Werburghs as part of its Cycling City work.

Inside them is a resin disc embedded with light emitting crystals, encased in a clear plastic shell for protection against the elements. A small steel pin penetrates the disc and this is used to anchor the stud. The head of the pin is encased in tough plastic which keeps the stud safe during the straightforward installation and marks its location. Checking for vandalism and the occasional wipe over to remove debris is all the maintenance needed.

The studs are far greener than street lighting or reflectors, including perhaps solar powered ones, in several senses. They are non-toxic, non-radioactive and contain no harmful chemicals. They emit a soft green light not radioactivity!!

Its a major advantage that they consume no electricity during their working life and thus consume no fuel and produce no polluting emissions! They don’t require expensive and polluting batteries either and don’t have to be wired up as they are self-contained. The studs work in total darkness, unlike reflectors, and are longer-life than solar lighting – five years is guaranteed and fourteen years or more of useful life is expected.