The City of Los Angeles plans to replace 140,000 existing streetlight fixtures in the city with LED (light-emitting diode) units over the next five years.
The initiative, was announced in Los Angeles yesterday by former President Bill Clinton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The project is said to be the largest LED street lighting retrofit project ever undertaken by a city. It is a joint effort between the City of Los Angeles' Bureau of Street Lighting and the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI).
The new units are expected to reduce the city's electricity use and save money in the process.
While typical streetlight lamps will last from four to six years, LED fixtures have a longer life span, estimated from 10 to 12 years.
The new, white-light LED streetlight units are said to be more durable and damage-resistant than other technologies. They are also expected to reduce sky glow--the artificial illumination of the night sky.
"If you have ever been to Death Valley National Park and looked up on a clear night, you would see that the stars seem to be dimmer than they were when I was a child. But they are not getting dimmer, really--the rest of the sky is getting brighter because of all the lights from Los Angeles and Las Vegas and other surrounding cities and communities," President Clinton said.
Once this overhaul is fully complete, L.A. will save electricity expended on street lighting in the city by a minimum of 40% and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 40,500 tons a year, which is the equivalent of taking 6,700 passenger vehicles off the road every year, according to a CCI release.
Over a seven-year period, the city will save a total of $48 million and reduce carbon emissions by 197,000 tons. After the loan is repaid in seven years, L.A. will continue to save $10 million annually as a direct result of this lighting retrofit project. In addition, this loan will have no adverse impact on city funds, as the loan payments will be covered in full by savings from current energy and maintenance costs.
With nearly 35 million streetlights in the United States, it is estmated that about 1% of all electricity is used by street lighting systems.
"If every city followed the example of Los Angeles and reduced the electricity used by their streetlights by 50%, it would be equivalent to eliminating over 2.5 of those coal plants per year," President Clinton said. "We would do that while saving taxpayers money. And by doing that, we would also reclaim our night sky."
CCI currently is building upon its efforts with L.A. and working with other cities on large-scale street lighting retrofit projects.
In January, New York City began testing six new streetlamp designs to employ LEDs.
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