Pathway revamp for Rugby open spaces includes sustainable and cost-effective lighting all year round

As part of the ‘Park Connector Network’ project, Rugby Borough Council were looking to upgrade existing and create new pathways through their open spaces. By doing so they hoped to provide attractive, wider, safer, and quality shared pathways away from traffic. The project included creating new paths, resurfacing paths in poor condition, improving drainage, path widening, and installing solar ground lighting.

To enable open spaces to be usable during shorter days and to help make the paths a more appealing and practical option for everyone to enjoy all year, lighting was deemed necessary. However, with concerns about the cost of a full-scale lighting initiative and the environmental impact on the local community, the council needed to find an alternative to traditional lighting solutions.

THE CHALLENGE

The project had several key objectives. The council wanted to help improve the quality of the path network and encourage people to adopt an active lifestyle all year round, through cycling and walking. Not only did the council want to improve visibility and usage of the paths, but it was also important that any new lights did not contribute to light pollution or have any negative impacts on wildlife or resident’s health and well-being. Lastly, the project could not incur expensive initial costs or ongoing operating fees. Typically, requests for the lighting of paths in parks would not be considered feasible due to the costs and concerns about light pollution.

Colin Horton, Green Spaces Officer at Rugby Borough Council happened to encounter solar ground lights in a park in Cambridge. Intrigued by the product which appeared to meet the challenges other lighting options did not, he contacted the local authority and discovered the product with Solareye80. After further research and conversations with other councils, including ecologists who had installed Solareye80 in similar projects, Colin was confident that the solar light would not disrupt the local environment.

THE SOLUTION

The project involved installation of 470 Solareyes across three sites. Solareyes are specially designed for pathways and cycle tracks and provide an attractive and sustainable waymarker. With local wildlife in mind, the council opted for the Bat Hat option which is designed to reduce upward light spillage. They also chose to install red Solareyes to highlight hazards along the paths such as bollards, chicanes and on the approach to busy main roads.

solar lighting on pathway which splits in two directions

By installing energy-efficient lighting, the council is helping to reduce its carbon footprint and avoiding the cost of energy bills. Rugby Borough Council will also save on maintenance charges because once Solareyes are installed they are virtually maintenance-free. The battery charges automatically during daylight hours and then powers the lights from dusk: no need to examine cables, sockets, and the like for wear and tear or damage. The most required is an occasional inspection – and possibly a simple wipe over of the solar panel should any residue have fallen on it.

THE BENEFITS

• Cost effective installation – no electrical supply required
• Quick and convenient installation – can be installed virtually anywhere, no access to an electrical grid is required, paths do not need to be closed and it is possible to fit up to 200 units in a day
• Energy savings – no ongoing energy bills
• Maintenance free
• LED lifespan of 100,000+ hours
• Long-life battery of at least 8 years
• Bat Hat option reduces upward light spillage, reducing light pollution and any damaging impact, particularly on the bat population
• Certified waterproof (IP68) and vandal-proof/impact resistance (IK10)

solar lighting on pathway by houses

A word from the council

“The council has taken positive measures to improve the quality and inclusiveness of our parks and open spaces, by upgrading our paths, introducing sustainable lighting, and creating park connector networks. These steps, we hope, will encourage active travel, which we know brings huge benefits to the environment, our health, and our quality of life. The solar lights seem to have increased use of the parks/paths despite the longer autumn nights and have proven to be cost effective and low maintenance.”

Colin Horton, Green Spaces Officer, Rugby Borough Council

Feedback from local residents

“I just wanted to pass on some feedback about the illuminated footpath edge markers on the new path situated on the land between Newton Manor Lane and Larkspur. It’s absolutely brilliant and means I can now use this path as part of my running circuits in the dark winter evenings. Thank you so much for something genuinely useful.”

Local resident, Rugby

To download the full case study as a PDF click here. If you would like to find out whether Solareyes are right for your project please get in touch with our specialists by calling 0845 293 8062 or completing our online form here.