Ka-ching! Cities see bright future in LED street light savings

GE customized LED street lightsSaving energy is always a great thing to do. But when you put a dollar amount to it, saving energy can look even better. That's why cities from San Diego to Detroit -- and smaller ones too -- are moving to budget-friendly LED street lights. Let's take a quick look at the kind of savings they're anticipating.

  • San Diego, CA: The city announced last month that it will illuminate its downtown district with Council Lead Partner GE’s intelligent lighting system, including LED street lighting. That makes San Diego the first city in the United States to adopt GE’s LightGrid technology. The new system is being installed now with completion set for this spring.  With the improved and energy-efficient lighting, San Diego expects to save more than a quarter-million dollars in energy costs each year.

  • Detroit, MI: The city is currently seeking bidders for a $160 million project to overhaul the city's street light systems with LED street lights. A report on Michigan Live said the overhaul will last through 2015 on residential streets and through the following year on major roads. Detroit Public Lighting Authority Executive Director Odis Jones said using LED lights will save the city $2.5 million a year.

  • Las Cruces, NM: The city has retrofitted over 200 street lights with LED fixtures in recent months and plans to do the same with all 8,000 of its street lights. According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the city is participating in a rebate program with El Paso Electric that provides refunds for energy efficiency, which means it can use the refunds to purchase more LEDs. The 200 LEDs installed so far are expected to reduce the city's electric bill by about $13,500 a year.

  • Sequim, WA: This city – population 6,600+ -- is installing 75 LED street lamps, anticipating not only energy savings but also savings in labor cost and materials because the LED units don't have to be replaced as often as traditional bulbs. The local PUD suggests that every 25 LED units installed will save the city approximately $1,000 per year in electrical costs.

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LED lighting seems like a smart idea. So why aren't more cities making the switch?


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