Expo Drives Italian City Milan LED Lighting Upgrade

Expo Milan 2015 was the inspiration for the largest roadway lighting project in Europe to date. Milan, Italy expects 20 million visitors for the event, which runs May through October. In preparation, 100,000 of AEC Illuminazione’s fixtures with LUXEON M LEDs were installed, delivering impressive light quality, energy efficiency and environmental benefits. Milan will save 10 million euro in energy cost and emit 20,000 fewer tons of CO2 in its first year alone.

Lumileds LUXEON M LED used in Milan LED streetlight upgrade. (All photos courtesy of Lumileds)

Customer Challenge

This year, Milan, Italy is hosting some 20 million visitors from 150 countries for the world’s fair, Milan Expo 2015. In keeping with the Expo’s theme “Feed the Planet, Energy for Life,” the city decided to undertake a complete urban renovation without parallel in Europe, such as by creating a breath-taking skyline, new cycle paths, subway tunnels and an efficient lighting system—specifically by, replacing 100,000 HID lamps with sustainable LED luminaires.

City officials set the goals for the Milan project, to become a 100% smart city using modern technologies to enhance performance and well-being, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with the citizens. Naturally, energy efficiency, eco-sustainability, and reliability were key requirements for the project “Milan goes LED.” Environmental considerations were also a priority, and so the project needed to be fulfilled by eco-sustainable LED luminaires. City officials also targeted a reduction in waste generation and minimization of light pollution created by the city.

The project covered highway lighting, residential roadway lighting, and lighting over city centers, squares and parks. Because of the varied requirements, fixtures of different designs with various optical capabilities were indicated.

Milan city center after LED upgrade.


To completely rejuvenate the lighting landscape of Milan by replacing 100,000 HID bulbs with LED luminaires on highways, residential roadways, and on city walkways. Cost, environmental and sustainability concerns were top priorities.


Milan installed 100,000 state-of-the-art AEC Italo 1, 2, and 2 Urban fixtures that are illuminated using LUXEON M LEDs. The high flux, high efficacy LUXEON M LEDs, together with select optics, bring the highest quality light precisely where it is needed.

Results and Benefits

Energy consumption was reduced by over 60% and Milan will save 10 million euro in energy cost (US $13 million) in its first year. The CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by 23,000 tons per year. The fixtures are warranted for five years and the LEDs are likely to last 100,000 hours (LM70) or 22 years, compared to 2- 3 years with HID bulbs.

Milan LED streetlight up close. 
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