Charles Sturt Smart Lighting Project

The Challenge

The City of Charles Sturt is a local government area in the western suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia, with a vibrant population of 120,000 people living between the city and the sea.

The City’s engineering department decided to progressively roll out public lighting along the City’s walk and cycling pathways. As part of this strategy, approximately 50 new LED lights were installed along a walking and cycling path in St Clair, which leads through parklands in a residential neighbourhood. The path is primarily used by residents to commute to and from work, which means that it is heavily used during peak times but rarely during the night, with few exceptions. Charles Sturt’s engineers and sustainability managers worked together to find ways to decrease the lighting levels during times of low path usage in order to conserve energy and protect the wildlife in the parklands.

South Australia, Australia


City of Charles Sturt


SCS-Schreder was engaged to develop a networked lighting system that could be retrofitted to the new LED luminaires by attaching smart photocell devices to the lights’ 7-pin NEMA sockets. The photocells then communicate to a gateway via a radio network, and then to a cloud hosted software with a cellular backhaul.

Importantly, the local radio network was designed as a multi-application mesh network, which means that different types of devices can be integrated with the network and communicate with the central management software, and are also capable of sending messages directly to one another. This capability allowed motion sensors to be deployed at strategic locations along the path in the same network, which send switching commands to pre-defined groups of lights when motion is detected by any one sensor during the night.

The central management software is used to dim the lights to a lower light output level at a specific time in the night, and the lights are then switched to full brightness by the sensors in the network when motion is detected. Thanks to the mesh network and device-to-device communication, this switching happens in real-time. When motion is not detected for a certain amount of time, the lights dim back down to a lower brightness level.

The switching logic can be defined in the central management software and is fully flexible to accommodate fixed time events, dynamic switching events and dim levels as required. The following graphic shows the set up at project hand over.

Charles Sturt Smart Lighting Project schema

SCS Services 

  • Workshopping customer requirements and developing a solution that is capable of delivering the desired outcomes.
  • Advising on strategic sensor locations and group switching of lights, as well as pre-defined dim levels and switching set up.
  • Managing the installation and commissioning of the system end-to-end.
  • System training, inductions and hand over.
  • Ongoing 24/7 technical and user support.

Key customer outcomes 

  • Significant energy savings throughout the night.
  • Protection of wildlife due to lower lighting levels.
  • Triggering data of sensors provides insights about levels of path usage during the night.
  • High level of community satisfaction with the project outcome as substantiated by a public survey.