Control Systems

Adaptive controls have shown great promise, yet relatively few municipalities and utilities have tested or deployed them across their outdoor lighting infrastructure. In addition to increased savings potential, control systems offer a wealth of non-energy benefits, including two-way communication between lights and a control center, enhanced customer service, enhanced public safety and reduced maintenance costs. 

Controls on the Rise

According to the MSSLC, there are a growing number of cities integrating street lighting controls. The most frequently cites examples are:

  • Oceanside, CA (7,700 controlled lights);
  • San Diego, CA (3,000 wirelessly controlled lights);
  • Los Angeles, CA (50,000 controlled lights).

Many more cities and utilities have begun pilot projects with a small number of LED street lights with adaptive controls (e.g., Washington State DOT, Georgia Power and others).

Contact MEEA for more information about each of these examples.

U.S. DOE Webinars

U.S. DOE led a two-part Adaptive Street Lighting Controls webinar.

Research & Case Studies

  • UC Davis’ Campus-Wide Networked Adaptive Controls LED Lighting case study describes a large-scale deployment of over 1,500 network-controlled LED streetlights and outdoor lighting fixtures on the UC Davis campus. In total, the installation reduced annual energy use by an estimated 1,231,758 annual kWh, saving $120,909 annually in energy and maintenance costs.
  • Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (NEEA) Seattle LED Adaptive Lighting Study explores the hypothesis that “a lower quantity of better-quality light provides equal or better detection distance” to investigate opportunities for dimming-related savings potential.


Street lighting controls are on the rise and they are achieving strong results, but it is important to consider the following:

  • Interoperability: installers must ensure different manufacturers’ systems will communicate.
  • Limited product selections: as more of these systems are developed and new product standards emerge, MEEA hopes to see manufacturers employ protocols that will ensure systems have compatible controls and use standard communications processes.