If you feel like you’ve earned some karma points or switching to LED in your home, imagine how an entire city must feel. According to The Daily Beast, Los Angeles recently completed the most expansive LED streetlight replacement program in the world by replacing 140,000 street lights. That’s a lot of karma points—and energy savings—and they’re not finished yet!
Prior to the program, LA’s street lights cost the city $15 million a year in energy costs, amounting to between 10 and 38 percent of the utility bill. With the new LED initiative the city of Los Angeles can say hello to a lot of savings, the same way they are saying hello to the new coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, Doc Rivers,. Besides the financial costs, the lights released 110,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and contributed to the city’s light pollution.
To solve the problem, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched the Los Angeles LED Street Lighting Energy and Efficiency program in 2009 as part of a city-wide green initiative with a goal to cut the city’s total energy consumption by 40 percent. The mayor had even received support from Bill Clinton and the Clinton Climate Initiative.
I, Dr. Bulb, am impressed.
Four years later, the city has replaced 140,000 lights in the first phase of the program, which will eventually reach 210,000. The new LED lights reduce energy consumption by 63% and have a life of 100,000 hours, or 10 to 12 years, which is nearly twice the life of the high-pressure sodium lamps they replaced. With savings from reduced energy use and maintenance, the city will be saving an estimated $10 million a year. Phase two of the program will replace antique street lamps in commercial and entertainment areas.
But cost reductions are not the only result of the program. The lights reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 47,000 tons. According to Mayor Villaraigosa, that’s like the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road! Moreover, the lights dramatically reduce sky pollution, which was met with positive comments from the Dark Skies Association. Even theft and vandalism have dropped because of increased visibility in neighborhoods.
The program costs $57 million over the four years, but the city received $16 million in rebate funds from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and $3.5 million from the Street Lighting Maintenance Assessment Fund. And with the energy savings, it won’t be long until LA receives a high return on investment.
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