Matthias Ritschl

Operator Desk
DALI Switch
Power Tool
Check-In Counter
AR Goggles
HCI Interface

B/F Industrial Design


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LED Streetlight



“Light is routinely supplied to spaces where no one is present.” [IEA - Int. Energy Agency]

LIGHTonDEMAND is a smart LED street-light for secondary roads, which dynamically reacts to illumination needs.

It provides light primarily when it is needed, which saves a significant amount of energy, money and reduces light pollution while creating better illumination.

LOD is a redesign of my degreework.


Supported by Bernd Stelzer

TOPIC Ideation

In the beginning I had a very holistic approach.

During the first weeks the analysis and research had an extremely broad base: it was all about light, public space, and the needs of urban dwellers.

Different Scenarios

Eventually I came up with 3 topic scenarios ...

A - Bus Stop
B - Winter park
C - technical Street Lighting

... and picked Scenario C - technical Street Lighting.


After the decision to work with technical streetlights was taken I started with a more specific research and analysis phase.

Facts n Figures

A very inspiring source of information was the International Energy Agency. [IEA]
Their article “Light’s Labour’s Lost” Policies for Energy-efficient Lighting from 2006 helped me a lot to get a deeper understanding.

Electric lighting nowadays consumes 19% of the global electricity production. [IEA]
15% more than produced by either hydro or nuclear power. [IEA]

1 900 Mt of CO2 per year. (equivalent to 70% of the emissions from the world’s light passenger vehicles.) [IEA]

The demand is far from being saturated because it’s unevenly distributed. Without action energy used for lighting will be 80% higher in 2030 than today [IEA]

Problem Description

It turned out that there are two main reasons why energy is wasted in street lighting today.

PROBLEM 1: inefficient hardware

In fact old and inefficient equipment (from the 60ies!) is still widely spread. Even in Germany.
This however is more a money or political problem than a design issue.

PROBLEM 2: light is spilled

“Light is routinely supplied to spaces where no one is present.” [IEA]
Every day, spilled light wastes enormous amounts of energy. Unacceptable in times of raising energy demands, prices and environmental issues.

So, I decided to deal with problem number 2.

Concept Idea

Today many cities try to bring down the energy consumption of street lights by dimming the lights at a certain time.

A smart street light would basically do the same. But instead of a fixed schedule it would provide light according to the illumination needs.

This would save a significant amount of energy, money and reduces light pollution while creating better illumination.

Concept of "Moving Light"

By breaking a light source down into 4 zones, light will be supplied where it is needed. Energy is saved and glare will be reduced (like headlights of your car).

So if someone walks his dog at 3:32 in the morning, the light more less follows the person. Therefore the streetlights next to the person will softly change from an ambient mode to maximum illumination and back again.

Influencing Parameters

In the course of the design process innumerable parameters had to be dealt with. Starting from "invisible" financial and political issues to very straight forward problems such as thermal management, sealing, dirt and installation.

Shape Development

The sketches shown here were made close to the end. A lot of has been defined already and many of the parameters/problems have been already solved.
The main issue to the end was the central hinge.

1:1 Mockup

To get an idea of the sizes and proportions i built a low fi wooden mockup. I just love this part of my job. *g*

Final Design

Light on Demand is an elegant, iconic and functional approach to modern street lighting.

Based on mature and proven technologies, such as motion detectors and solid state lighting (LED), full illumination is just provided when there is a need for light.  The rest of the time an ambient light keeps the energy consumption as low as possible.

As a result LOD significantly cuts down on the energy used, the emitted  CO2 and the money spent on lighting while creating a better and more specific illumination.

LOD can be mounted in various layouts on (existing) light poles as well as on wires and it barely needs any maintenance.
The body stays clean due to its shape and it has a good thermal management, which leads to an even longer lifetime of the LEDs.

Benefit Summary

less energy used (less CO2 emissions)
less money is spent on electricity bills
less light pollution
less insect irritation
less glare
better and more specific illumination
less maintenance costs due to a longer lifetime of the light source

it is based on mature and proven technologies
it uses existing infrastructure (poles)
it is simple, elegant, iconic
it corresponds with the surrounding
it has a good thermal management
it can be mounted in various ways
plus all the advantages of SOLID STATE LIGHTING