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Clinton Climate Initiative LED streetlight... Los Angeles - now the "City of LED Lights" (via LA Bureau of Street Lighting)

 

 

Street lighting has been around since the ancient Romans and Greeks used them for safety purposes (tripping over obstacles, etc.) and to keep thieves at bay. Those were of course oil lamps and were in use all over the globe until 1875 when Russian inventor Pavel Yablochkov introduced his ‘Yablochkov Candle’ to the world. The first use of his electric lamp was in Paris where 80 of them were deployed to light the Grand Magasins du Louvre department store, which is where the city subsequently earned its nickname ‘The City of Lights’. Since that time, electric incandescent street lights in one form or another have been used to illuminate highways and on/off ramps for over 100 years, however this is about to change.

 

LEDs have proven to be much more efficient  than traditional incandescent lamps when it comes to power use, so it was only natural that the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting used them to replace the city’s aging streetlights. The city’s Light Emitting Diode Street Lighting Retrofit (part of the Clinton Climate Initiative), has replaced over 140,000 of their streetlights with more efficient LED units over the past four years. As a result of switching over to LEDs, the city’s energy use for lighting has been reduced by over 62% and carbon emissions were reduced by over 47,000 metric tons per year. The city’s light pollution has also been reduced due to using white LEDs, which is also getting high-praise from the LAPD as well as the Dark Skies Association (the premier authority on light pollution). Los Angeles isn’t the only city to make the transformation over to LED street lighting, as Las Vegas replaced 42,000 lights back in May of this year and Austin is looking to replace 35,000 of their lights. San Antonio is set to install 20,000 LED lights as well, as the trend to go green is taking the US by storm.

 

The adoption of LED lighting has been steadily increasing over the years from 3 million units in the beginning of 2012 and is expected to grow to over 17 million by the year 2020. This is to be expected as the demand for energy has been increasing over the last few decades as more countries have been expanding their infrastructure. The benefits of using LED lighting are obvious, LA alone has reduced its electric bill by 7 million dollars with an additional savings of 2.5 million through reduced maintenance expenditures. The city isn’t finished with replacing the defunct high-pressure sodium fixtures, as they plan to switch out an additional 70,000 units with the second phase of their initiative, which is expected to be completed by 2014. The total budget to replace those fixtures tops out at $56.9 million, which may sound like a lot of money but considering the savings that will accumulate over a period of a few years will save the city money in the long run.

 

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