LED Street Lights
In Summer 2007 the DDA voted to approve a $630,000 grant to retrofit 1,400 downtown globe lights to more energy-efficient LED. Each retrofited LED street light represents a $107/year cost savings to the City in energy and maintenance costs, plus the program provides dramatic evidence of the Ann Arbor DDA's clear commitment to new energy technology initiatives.
This DDA sponsored program has garnered tremendous regional and national attention, and is encouraging other communities around the country to consider a similar switch to a greener technology.
The Switch to LED Street Lighting
The City of Ann Arbor paid $1.39 million—25 percent of their energy budget—on traffic signals and streetlights in 2006. The cost would have been higher had the City not begun replacing incandescent traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals with LEDs back in 2000. The replacements made so far are saving the City $49,000 annually, but the bigger savings opportunities are in street lighting, which accounts for 92 percent of that $1.39 million.
LEDs (light-emitting diodes) have been around since the 1960s. You've probably seen them used as indicator lights in consumer products. Recently, however, they have become practical for general lighting purposes. Although they cost more upfront than the bulbs they replace, LED lights use half the energy (or less) and last longer than conventional bulbs, resulting in big savings and short payback periods. One specific advantage of LEDs is that they produce directional light. This provides more control over what is lit (i.e. the street) and what isn't (the night sky), reducing light pollution and wasted energy.
The LED pilot program has received considerable recognition, winning ICLEI's first annual Climate Innovation Invitational Award and being featured as part of a video on Ann Arbor that aired at the 2007 International City Managers Association conference.
For More Information: Download the City's program summary