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More and more large cities in the United States are replacing traditional street lights with newer light-emitting diodes or LED lights. The LEDs use much less electricity and last much longer than traditional streetlights. In 2013, the City of Los Angeles retrofitted 140,000 LED street lights and within a year had energy savings of 63 percent and saved around $8.7 million. They also cut their annual energy consumption from 190 million kilowatt-hours to 110 kilowatt-hours. This year, Los Angeles is spending $57 million to swap out some 215,000 of the older, orange-yellow sodium-vapor streetlights for the newer, more efficient LEDs. The expected annual savings from changing the lights in Los Angeles is over $11 million.

Earlier this year the City of Las Vegas finished outfitting 42,000 street lights with LED fixtures as did the City of Austin, Texas, which installed 35,000 LED street lights in 2013. In 2012 San Antonio installed 20,000 LED street lamps. The economic impact of using LEDs is significant. The estimated cost to replace and install 1000 new LEDs in street lamps is $215,000 after which energy savings and maintenance are around $55,000 annually.

In New York State, there are 1.4 million municipal streetlights that consume 990 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year, which experts say  accounts for the equivalent of 752,000 tons of carbon dioxide, or the yearly greenhouse gas output of 144,000 passenger cars. Electricity production generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions because 67% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas.

In 2009 New York City started a ten-year project to change 300,000 streetlights with LEDs. Estimated costs for completion is $76.5 million, most of which is being funded through NYC’s Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency (ACE) Initiative.

In 2012 Navigant Research predicted that shipments of LED street lights was expected to increase from 3 million to more than 17 million in 2020.

There are currently more than 2,000 LED and smart streetlight projects happening in 90 countries. By 2025, cities around the world are expected to invest $64 billion for LED streetlights. Cities that have installed at least some LED street lights include: Split, Croatia, Nairobi, Kenya, Kingston, Ontario, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Mumbai, India, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India, Vilnius, Lithuania, Belgrade, Serbia. Madrid began the largest single-city project with 225,000 streetlights and Denmark has retrofitted 25% to 30% of its 1 million street lights. Many of these cities are getting support from the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI)  and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

Last year, Walmart announced plans to purchase energy-efficient LED ceiling lighting fixtures for their new supercenters in the United States, stores in Asia and Latin America, and locations in the United Kingdom. Businesses producing and distributing LED fixtures include Osram, Royal Philips, Acuity Brands and Panasonic. The LED fixtures used in Los Angeles include Cree’s XSP series and LEDway series, Hadco’s RX series (Hadco is a Philips PHG +4.17% company), and Leotek’s GC series.

As part of last week’s annual Climate Week NYC Philips supported the launch of The Climate Group’s new major global campaign – “LED = Lower Emissions Delivered” and provided LED lights for the Times Square Ball.



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