LISBON CÂMARA invested half-a-million euros alone on fancy 18th century street lanterns in its restoration of Baixa Chiado. However, the costs for the swanky, new Pombaline lighting fixtures were not met entirely from the council’s budget.
Council officer António Monteiro said the authentic Baroque designs were partly met from European Union funds, through its Economic Operation Plan. In fact, the EU contributed nearly half of the cash, around 230,000 euros, as part of an overall scheme to renovate and restore the famous, rundown Lisbon tourist district.
According to the municipal authority, the project to equip the area with new, old style lanterns is nearly complete and, being energy efficient, it should slash 25 million euros a year from the Câmara’s electricity bill.
So far, 600 lanterns have been replaced, with only those buildings still being renovated awaiting the new lighting. A council engineer said that the lamps were energy efficient because their bulbs are spherical rather than tubular and light is not projected into the sky. And, because the bulbs are longer lasting and well encased, they should last four years instead of two. Despite being weaker, the light is spread where it is needed onto the street in a more uniform way,” said engineer Silva Ferreira.
The Council is undertaking the first major change to the Baixa’s lighting scheme since the 1940s.