Three Ways to Retrofit Your Lighting

Michèle-Cerise Soors
Michèle-Cerise Soors
Marketing Manager Sustainability Solutions

For more than a century, Schréder has been at the forefront of innovation – and during that time, we’ve developed a healthy respect for heritage, as well. A retrofit combines the two by placing modern LED light engines into existing lighting fixtures. It also helps our customers achieve their sustainability goals; every luminaire that is upgraded, rather than scrapped and reinstalled, is a win for the circular economy and the planet’s resources.

After an initial wave of retrofit projects which preserved the classic look and feel of prestige locations such as Place Vendome and Toulouse’s Place du Capitole, we are extending our wave of retrofit solutions. Building on the success of these Schréder STUDIO solutions where we design custom modules to fit in existing luminaires, we now offer CIRCLE LED BASE for straightforward luminaire retrofitting, and TECEO UPLINK, an easy connectivity solution for our blockbuster TECEO range.

A word about standards

Circular design means creating a product that will be used for as long as possible and with multiple lives. Reuse, refurbishment, remanufacture and recycling are at the heart of the circular economy and retrofit encompasses them all. As a global lighting manufacturer, we are a member of various standardisation bodies related to LED luminaires, light engines, modules and sensors. However there isn’t currently a global standard for ecologically sound designs, or compliance with the circular economy goals – so we created one ourselves.

In 2009 we launched the Green Light Label, showing our commitment to our sustainable development goals. In 2019 we updated it and renamed it as the Circle Light Label, ensuring our teams integrate circular economy principles into product design. In 2023, 100% of new product releases reached the highest score of 4 stars, including our CIRCLE LED retrofit solution kit.

Bespoke, discreet, sustainable

Done well, a lighting retrofit is invisible: the new LED unit simply clicks into place in the existing luminaire. That's what we did in Beja, a historic town in Portugal's Alentejo region with monuments dating back to Roman times. The local authorities, committed to preserving the city’s character while building a sustainable future, wanted to retain their heritage lanterns while the protector and light sources were upgraded. LED optics incorporating white LEDs (3,000K) with an average consumption of 70W replaced the old high-pressure sodium lamps (150W), reducing the energy bill by 61%.

Schréder STUDIO retrofitted traditional lanterns in Beja to save energy, money and resources
The original wrought-iron lanterns in Beja have been retrofitted with LED technology to save energy and preserve its historic character.


New lamps for old… And not that old

North of Beja, Montijo is just across the river from Lisbon. Praça da República is a popular square where the local community regularly gathers to celebrate events and socialise. In 2002, before the LED revolution, the local authorities installed the emblematic HERMES luminaire across the square. Its sculptural forms house an indirect white light that creates a cosy atmosphere with high visual comfort.

In 2022, after 20 years of service life, Montijo City Council wanted to switch to LED technology as part of the city’s energy-efficiency plan. With HERMES looking as good as ever, they contacted us to discuss how they could preserve the luminaire and at the same time increase the light output to improve safety for the vulnerable people, especially the young and the old, who regularly gather in the square. In our factory, we retrofitted the traditional metal halide discharge lamps (150W) with an LED kit (24 LEDs - 53W). This increases the light output by 35% using the same amount of energy, reflecting the city’s commitment to the community, a responsible use of public funds and a sustainable future.

Schréder retrofitted HERMES luminaires with LED technology to improve safety and preserve resources at the same time
HERMES luminaires in Montijo were retrofitted with LED light optics after 20 years of service life to increase light output and save resources. 

It’s not just about urban spaces, either: road and tunnel lighting can be given a glow up (or glow down, as necessary) with a retrofit. Opened in 1942, the Maastunnel was the first immersed tunnel in the Netherlands and Europe. Lit with the classic orange glow of low-pressure sodium lamps, we were able to retrofit 760 of the existing luminaires in the tunnel with new amber/white LED optics. They provide an orange light to recreate the original 1940s atmosphere, but can be switched to bright white if required to meet safety regulations.

Retrofit lighting to save energy, money and resources 

At the same time, technology is evolving faster than ever. Some luminaires installed 10 years ago are already outdated in terms of electronic components yet their housings are still in good condition – they simply need an upgrade to LED technology. Other luminaires may contain an LED unit already, but could benefit from connectivity to a system such as Schréder EXEDRA which enables lights to be switched on and off, and dimmed remotely, saving on maintenance and energy costs.

Maastunnel was retrofitted with amber and white LEDs to preserve its heritage and meet modern safety regulations
Maastunnel in the Netherlands was retrofitted with amber and white LEDs to recreate its original atmosphere and meet safety regulations.


What goes around comes around

Our CIRCLE LED BASE retrofit solution extends the life of luminaires, combining advanced technology with sustainability and improved energy efficiency. It transforms durable high-intensity discharge (HID) luminaires into efficient LED luminaires; only the power supply and light source need to be replaced, so cities can keep their characteristic luminaires, whether they date from the 1880s or 1980s. CIRCLE LED BASE provides improved lighting quality, reduced maintenance and increased energy savings while retaining the original luminaire. 

We are currently working with S'Hertogenbosch, also known as Den Bosch, in the Netherlands to update all aspects of their lighting. Popular with tourists, and home to the largest cathedral in the Netherlands, keeping the city’s unique character is vitally important. Part of the brief is updating their traditional copper lanterns. While the exterior is 70 years old, the CIRCLE LED BASE fits neatly inside, meaning they can upgrade 400 urban light fittings without using any new materials for the exterior or affecting the city's charms.

Tweaking a bestseller

TECEO is one of Schréder’s biggest success stories, with just over 1.5 million luminaires installed worldwide. Thousands of cities and businesses, from Scandinavia to Australia, have chosen the TECEO to bring places to life after dark, improve energy efficiency and minimise light pollution. It has been around for more than a decade; with LED technology lasting for up to 100,000 hours, some of the earliest models are still going strong, but don’t connect to smart city systems.

TECEO UPLINK is a connectivity retrofit kit designed to seamlessly integrate smart lighting technologies into your existing TECEO 1 luminaires. It simply clicks in and makes existing TECEO luminaires smart. TECEO UPLINK supports both NEMA and Zhaga ecosystems with corresponding OWLET IV nodes, enabling seamless connectivity to Schréder EXEDRA, or any compatible CMS – after all, interoperability is at the heart of our philosophy. This smart lighting platform maximises the longevity, efficiency and sustainability of your street lighting system while reducing operating costs and waste.

Coming back to S'Hertogenbosch, in addition to its historic heritage, there's also a lot of more modern attractions, well-known museums such as Het Noordbrabants Museum and the Design Museum Den Bosch. Modern attractions deserve the best of modern lighting, so as part of the city’s overhaul, we are upgrading 150 TECEO units with the TECEO 1 UPLINK. The city is always thinking about how it can be more sustainable and build a more circular economy, and connected lighting plays a part in achieving these goals.

When looking to the future, consider taking a part of the past 

Retrofitting existing lighting solutions maintains the unique character of urban spaces, while enabling authorities to meet their net zero targets. With two exciting new approaches – CIRCLE LED BASE and TECEO UPLINK – retrofit solutions become more affordable, better connected and easily compatible with smart cities. There’s never been a better time to upgrade to LED.

About the writer
A passionate advocate for protecting our planet, Michèle-Cerise joined Schréder in 2023 to help us integrate circular economy principles into all of our solutions and business practices. With over a decade of experience in various sectors such as metallurgy and energy, she works across the company to ensure that resources are used effectively, waste is minimised and that our sustainable lighting solutions help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. Michèle-Cerise regularly participates in working groups and associations in order to contribute to and stay ahead of the latest developments in international and national legislation.

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