City of Melbourne

Photometric Study – Lygon Street Melbourne

“Communicating the performance of technology in an easy to understand format”

The City of Melbourne has always been considered leaders in lighting innovation. The City is the largest user of induction lamps in the Southern Hemisphere, early adopters of LED and plasma lighting is being installed along Swanston Street. These lighting technologies are some of the most advanced, reducing long term maintenance costs and improving energy efficiency while still maintaining the aesthetic appeal that is City of Melbourne at night.

History of Melbourne Lighting

In the late 1870s the threat of electric lighting had its first impact on gas companies around the world. In 1881 the Victorian Electric Light Co. displayed an electric lamp (with the generator powered by a gas engine) outside its Swanston Street premises and the first Melbourne Electrical Exhibition took place in the following year. These were early warnings for the gas industry, but it was 1888 before the threat was first realised when the Melbourne City Council replaced two gas lamps at a city intersection with electricity. The innovation of the Welsbach Incandescent Gas Mantle, which provided a markedly improved light, helped the gas companies hold back the lighting market for a few additional years, but the change to electric street lighting was inevitable.

Project Overview 

The City of Melbourne have installed a number of LED Streetlights in Lygon Street and they wish to understand the performance of the installation.

Explaining the Dark Art of Lighting

Lighting is often represented by numerical numbers. Combing customised software, high accuracy illumination meters, GPS and Google Earth®, Citelum have translated this lighting number into a colour and then scaled the average illumination to demonstrate which roads and areas within the city are lit to higher levels of illumination than others.

The audit was conducted using our GPLux® photometric mapping method.


The project achieved the following:

  • Presenting light results in a simple format for non-technical stakeholders to understand
  • A tool for the city to plan for lighting into the future
  • A tool to understand the lighting footprint of the city

Lygon Street, City of Melbourne, Victoria

  • 20km route lighting mapped
  • Lux readings from over 3,000 lighting points
  • Project type: Consultation GPLux®
  • Date: 2012
  • Project length: 6 months