Civic monitoring report
Improving public lightning for reducing energy consuption in Marsala (Italy)

Sent on 3/03/2023 | By The Light Bringers | @LightBringers_

What we found out

Project objectives

The monitored project is named in Italian "EFFICIENTAMENTO TECNOLOGICO DEGLI IMPIANTI DELLA PUBBLICA ILLUMINAZIONE FINALIZZATO ALLA RIDUZIONE DEI CONSUMI ENERGETICI MARSALA". With a total value of EUR 5 million, it is funded under the Sicily ERDF OP 2014-2020 and concerns the energy efficiency of public lighting in the municipality of Marsala. The programmer of the intervention, which concerns the infrastructures, is the Sicilian Region; the beneficiary is the Municipality of Marsala.
The intervention consists in the replacement of the illuminating bodies of the old generation lamps with innovative lamps of the Light Emitting Diode (LED) type and in the adaptation of electrical systems in the suburbs and in the districts of the territory.
The tender was awarded by a Temporary Association of Enterprises (ATI), whose contract dates back to 10/08/2021, composed of ELSIS s.r.l. (Mandatory) – TUTTOLUCI s.r.l. (Associate Principal) – SI.CO.EDILI s.r.l. (Associate Principal).
The replacement of the now obsolete and poor lighting fixtures with as many LEDs, less polluting and more efficient, will serve to guarantee the regulatory adaptation of the systems and will allow not only to contain the dispersion in the air of harmful substances and the degree of light pollution, but also to achieve a good level of energy efficiency and, consequently, a decisive saving in economic terms.
More efficient public lighting, moreover, generates more safety: road safety, because they reduce accidents and public safety because it discourages criminals. Finally, more efficient public lighting makes it possible to highlight the beauty of the city even in the evening, raising the quality of life of the inhabitants and promoting an improvement in urban decorum and the development of tourism.

Foreseen activities

The technological efficiency project provides, in particular, for the replacement of a total of n. 5,543 light points, belonging to 181 control panels of public lighting, located in the different districts of the Municipality of Marsala, which turn out to be obsolete, dilapidated, and no longer meet the specific rules. The interventions chosen also concern the restoration of piles knocked down by accidents with as many poles for public lighting including base and lighting body with connecting excavation, installation of cable ducts and cables, removing part of the air supply network present dilapidated and with cables no longer up to standard. Moreover, it was decided to use the existing poles, whose replacement seems too onerous and, in addition, they still seem to be in good structural condition from the visual inspections. In order to re-functionalize and optimize the on and off times of the plants according to geographical parameters, the time zone and the actual daily twilight at the site of the plant, the project involves the supply and placement of an equipment for the measurement, control, regulation and control of astronomical street lighting. This system, recently on the market, in addition to operating automatically on the on-off times according to the above parameters, allows, through special software already installed in the switch, possible time corrections resulting from the so-called “civil twilight”, regardless of the seasons of the year, where it is intended to give different on and off times, resulting from traffic needs on the roads concerned. From the website, it is clear that the project should have started on 01/07/2020 and ended on 30/06/2022. In fact, the project started on 23/08/2021 and, in the words of the experts, interviewed by us - the designer, geom. Gaspare Zichittella, the Sole Responsible for the proceedings, geom. Girolamo Parrinello, Ing. Alessandro Putaggio, referent of the Strategic Control Office of the Municipality of Marsala, and the Councilor for Public Lighting, lawyer Ivan Gerardi - is scheduled for June 2023.

Project origin

The project we are monitoring, the one relating to action 4.1.3 of EFFICIENTAMENTO TECNOLOGICO DEGLI IMPIANTI DELLA PUBBLICA ILLUMINAZIONE FINALIZZATO ALLA RIDUZIONE DEI CONSUMI ENERGETICI MARSALA, originates from the expression of interest following the publication of a public notice. The Department of Energy, within the framework of the directives of the European Parliament and of the Council on the eco-design of energy- related products, with DDG no. 245 of 20/04/2018, publishes the Public Notice with an evaluation procedure at the counter for the granting of facilities in favor of local authorities, also in the forms of association duly constituted, for the realization of public works by means of regional actions to promote the adoption of technological solutions to reduce energetic consumption of public lighting. The notice selects the Beneficiaries for the realization of regionally directed public works operations to which allocate the resources allocated on Axis 4 “Sustainful Energy and Quality of Life” (Action 4.1.3), of the ERDF OP Sicily 2014/2020, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
After careful analysis of the documents and data owned by the municipal administration, certifying the weak and strong points of the territory where the efficiency project would have taken place, further specific surveys were carried out, useful for the implementation of the project.
There have been several consultation and co-design meetings, in order to encourage participatory discussion and collaborative contributions between the municipal administration and the competent operators.


The project we are monitoring has benefits for all the citizens. In carrying out the measures of relamping and modernization of the electrical systems, however, priority was given to the districts of the Municipality of Marsala that were in a state of poor lighting, whose systems were obsolete, dilapidated, and no longer meeting the specific regulations. Citizens residing in some districts and in most of the historic center of the city have not been able to benefit from this efficiency action, but they have benefited from another efficiency project, which serves as the implementation of action 4.1.3, which we monitor (ERDF OP 2014/2020 – Urban Agenda- Action 4.1.1, aimed at achieving the objectives of promoting eco-efficiency and reducing primary energy consumption in public buildings).


Marsala, from an urbanistic point of view, is made up of heterogeneous and diverse residential centers spread throughout its territory, defining it as the only example of a "city-territory" in Sicily. About 35,000 inhabitants live in the city, while 47,000 are spread among the more than 100 fractions and districts. The districts, dating back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, have their origins in the strong agricultural activity of the territory and constitute the real peculiarity of the municipal territory: with a specific territorial identity, they are about 100 and are located from 1 to 15 km away from the center. They are clusters of houses that arise along the most important road axes without interruption. Some villages are merged with the city due to urban expansion along the main roads, while other districts are more distant with few scattered houses.
It is an extensive territory, extending for a length of 520 km, with a public lighting network that extends for about 480 km and, before the implementation of the project we are monitoring, contemplated the use of about 16,038 lighting fixtures, with different types of technological and aesthetic systems, 360 points of use, and 3,900 annual lighting hours. The lamps used were sodium and mercury vapor ones and were not compliant with the commitments made by the European Union under the Paris Agreement and, in general, to initiatives aimed at promoting renewable energies and improving energy efficiency (see Law no. 9 of 01/1991 "Provisions for the implementation of the new national energy plan"; - Law no. 10 of 09/01/1991 "Provisions for the implementation of the national energy plan regarding the rational use of energy, energy saving, and the development of renewable energy sources"; - D.Lgs no. 285 of 30/04/1992: "New Highway Code"; Law no. 120 of 01/06/2002: "Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations framework convention on climate change, 11 December 1997; COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 245/2009 of 18 March 2009 implementing Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to ecodesign requirements for fluorescent lamps without integrated ballast, for high-intensity discharge lamps, and for ballasts and lighting fixtures able to operate such lamps, and repealing Directive 2000/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products).
For this reason, the Municipality of Marsala seized the opportunities inherent in action 4.1.3, "Sustainable Energy and Quality of Life," of the ERDF OP Sicily 2014/2020, proceeding with the replacement of old lighting fixtures, the modernization of electrical panels, the installation of two columns for charging electric cars.
Our project is complementary to another project, with which it interacts and which, in some way, constitutes its implementation: ERDF OP 2014/2020 - Urban Agenda- Action 4.1.1, aimed at achieving the objectives of promoting eco-efficiency and reducing primary energy consumption in public buildings and structures. With this action, the Municipality of Marsala is proceeding with the "relamping" of the historic center and the modernization of electrical panels in those areas.


According to the information we gathered during our interviews with some authoritative sources, such as the designer, surveyor Gaspare Zichittella, the Sole Manager of the Procedure, surveyor Girolamo Parrinello, the engineer Alessandro Putaggio, contact person of the Strategic Control Office of Marsala City Council, and the public lighting Councilor, lawyer Ivan Gerardi, the project can be said to be almost completed: the relamping intervention has been completed and the technicians are proceeding with the replacement of 181 electrical panels at the "cantiere diffuso" (scattered construction site) in the Municipality of Marsala. In particular, during the interview held in our school on March 3, 2023, the Councilor Ivan Gerardi reported that, to speed up the modernization of the old systems, the Municipal Administration has ordered an increase in the number of weekly technical interventions. To optimize the timing of switching on and off the systems based on geographical parameters and daily twilight, an astronomical twilight control and regulation system will be installed. Although the intervention is not yet completed, the positive aspects seem to prevail, and we consider it effective. The acquired information has been confirmed by consulting important documents that we had the opportunity to examine, including the executive project, the general technical report, the energy diagnosis, the plans, and tables of the portions of the territory where the project has been implemented.


Considering that the replacement of 5,543 old lighting fixtures with innovative Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps has been completed and the replacement of the 181 electrical panels, which should be completed by June, is underway, despite bureaucratic delays, we believe that the technological efficiency intervention is bearing fruit. These pieces of information, the result of our constant dialogue with the experts, have been confirmed by our numerous monitoring visits. By exploring our "widespread construction site" and conducting various inspections in the various districts of our territory, we have happily noted the installation of new LED lamps and observed a high level of brightness compared to the old lighting system.


Among the weaknesses of the project, generally speaking, there are bureaucratic delays, which resulted in a considerable delay in the start of the intervention. Furthermore, the energy price increases, related to the invasion of Ukraine, sanctions, and Russia's gas blackmail, have had dramatic repercussions in terms of supply problems and unsustainable import costs, not only at the international level but also at the local level. From a careful examination of the data relating to consumption and costs of bills, which refer to one of the electrical panels affected by the intervention and the periods of September 2020 (pre-efficiency) and September 2022 (post-efficiency), we deduce a considerable reduction in consumption: KWh 2,062 VS 1,317, with a saving of KWh 745. However, a reduction in consumption does not correspond to the containment of costs, which have almost doubled due to the energy crisis and fixed fees on bills. However, without the efficiency intervention, these amounts would have been even more alarming.


One of the strengths of the project is certainly the fact that some poorly lit areas of the city-territory of Marsala, lacking in lighting systems and deteriorating lighting poles, will finally see the light. A "green" light, which will not only contain the dispersion of harmful substances in the air but will also achieve a good level of energy efficiency and, consequently, significant cost savings. More efficient public lighting will also generate more safety: road safety because accidents will decrease and public safety because it will discourage criminals. Equipping Marsala with a modern, compliant and up-to-date lighting system would help reduce territorial disparities and combat the persistence of annoying stereotypes and prejudices that are difficult to eradicate.
Our city-territory can become a "smart city-territory", following the reformist demands of an Enlightenment 2.0, awakening through the light of "progress", the minds of those who firmly cling to a dark and resistant mental habitus to change, still insisting on not opting for choices based on energy efficiency and sustainability. This is what we smart citizens of tomorrow hope for. The name of our team, "The Light Bringers", refers not only to the "physical" light, a source of illumination, but also to the light of the minds.


A first risk could be related to the nature of the project: during the works, structural problems or failures of parts of the systems could emerge, which, apparently intact, could prove deteriorated; secondly, there are fears of further slowdowns due to bureaucratic issues. Finally, although the government has allocated funds to reduce the impact and some maneuvers are being planned at the European level to contain the increase in prices, due to the energy crisis and inflation in progress, there is a fear of a further increase in the prices of energy raw materials.

Ideas and solutions

The illuminated areas today will lead to illuminating new areas tomorrow! It is the intention of the Public Administration to allocate the funds resulting from further financing to the lighting of monuments and the most important archaeological sites of the city. Highlighting the beauty of the city in the evening would allow to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, promoting an improvement in urban decorum and the development of tourism.
The illumination of the city's places of interest would allow us to "network" and "systemize" the territory: putting the different resources of the city in relation to each other could be considered a further opportunity for the enhancement of our territory.

Results and Impact of the monitoring

Dissemination of results

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Territorial events organised by the teams
  • Team blog / website
  • Flyers or other off-line methods (non-Internet)
  • Media interviews


  • the designer, Municipality of Marsala
  • the Sole Manager of the Procedure, Municipality of Marsala
  • contact person of the Strategic Control Office , Municipality of Marsala
  • councilor for public lighting, Municipality of Marsala
  • former city councilor, part of the team that contributed to the implementation of the project monitored by us and, contextually, of the completely 4.1.1. action, planned within the , Municipality of Marsala
  • ,

Contacts with media outlets

  • Local TV
  • Local newspapers
  • National newspapers

Contatti con le Pubbliche Amministrazioni per discutere i risultati del Monitoraggio

  • Partial answer

Description of the case

We think that our monitoring has had a positive impact on the subjects who implemented and developed the project due to the full collaboration received from some Municipal Administration technicians directly involved in the project. They provided us with data, maps and in some cases agreed to answer our questions. Our monitoring activity has also allowed our fellow citizens to become aware of a project that otherwise would have remained in the shadows, or that the city would have simply watched passively. Finally, a meeting with representatives of Europe Direct and the Municipal Administration is scheduled for September to talk about the progress of the project and future developments. Having published the reports on social media channels, as foreseen by the ASOC agenda, has allowed to expand the audience. Furthermore, we believe that winning the competition, with the publication of articles regarding our lighting innovation and efficiency project in newspapers also read abroad, can even help our Sicily to shake off the bad reputation of a backwardness of which Southern Italy is often unjustly accused.

Investigation method

How was the information collected?

  • Web research
  • Visit to the project's location, documented by pictures or videos
  • Interview with the users and/or final beneficiaries of the intervention
  • Interview with other types of people
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's implementation
  • Interview with political leaders

We interviewed:
• The designer, geom. Gaspare Zichittella
• The Sole Manager of the Procedure, geom. Girolamo Parrinello
• Eng. Alessandro Putaggio, contact person of the Strategic Control Office of the Municipality of Marsala
• Lawyer Ivan Gerardi, councilor for public lighting.
• Headmaster Anna Maria Angileri, former city councilor, part of the team that contributed to the implementation of the project monitored by us and,
contextually, of the completely 4.1.1. action, planned within the "Urban Agenda".
• Citizens of Marsala

Main questions

1) "Relamping" involves replacing the lighting bodies of old generation lamps with innovative Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps. It is an important energy efficiency intervention capable of reducing consumption and improving lighting performance and comfort. Relamping is eco-sustainable: it involves less heat dissipation compared to traditional lamps; less carbon dioxide production, limiting thermal dispersion in the environment; reduced emission of polluting chemical substances and containment of light pollution. Do you think that the city of Marsala needs a similar intervention? (citizenship via Google form and on-site interviews and experts involved in the project)

2) For some years now, we have been witnessing the transformation of urban centers into "smart cities," intelligent cities: the concept of the city is rethought in an innovative way. The first essential requirement that the cities of the future must have, on which all experts agree, is sustainability. Cities that are increasingly zero impact, that aim to soft mobility solutions to reduce CO2 levels and safe and energy-efficient buildings for a better quality of life for all. Do you think that the fabric of our city is doomed to change and that Marsala one day could be counted among the smart cities and energy communities, a group of people who share renewable and clean energy in a peer-to-peer exchange? (citizenship via Google form and on-site interviews and experts involved in the project)

Main answers

1) Absolutely yes. Among the needs of the territory of the city of Marsala there is undoubtedly the intervention of energy redevelopment of the public lighting systems.

2) The road along the virtuous path of environmental sustainability is still long, but it is possible that Marsala will one day be counted among the smart cities of the future. The municipal administration is willing not to stop here! In Marsala’s future, streetlights will also be “smart” and part of a smart city, helping to monitor roads against crime, fires, bad weather and air pollution. There will be electric vehicles, available to citizens, that will go along the city center. There will be bike lanes and bike sharing and forms of sustainable mobility that can reduce pollution and traffic. There will be an offshore wind farm, capable of generating clean and renewable energy in larger quantities than onshore, when the wind blows strong enough.