Bright lights, big city
Last year, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting started replacing the city’s 140,000 high-pressure sodium streetlights with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures as part of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Green L.A. plan to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. By 2014, when all the lights have been updated, bureau officials expect streetlight energy use to have been reduced by at least 40 percent.
The project started in 2008 when the bureau worked with the Mayor’s Office and the New York-based Clinton Climate Initiative to analyze streetlight energy use, calculate the cost of replacing the lights with more efficient technology, and translate the energy savings to carbon dioxide reductions. Then, the bureau assembled funding for the $57 million endeavor and developed a five-year plan that calls for 20,000 lights to be replaced in the first year and 30,000 in each of the next four years.
Because lighting technology is evolving so rapidly, the bureau evaluates new products every six months and gathers feedback from residents to make its selections. Since the first phase began early last year, 8,700 streetlights have been replaced with technology from Sturtevant, Wis.-based BetaLED and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Leotek. Additionally, remote monitoring devices from Kennesaw, Ga.-based Roam have been installed on 7,000 fixtures so far to measure the new lights’ energy consumption and report automatically to the city’s service request system if a light goes out. With those replacements, the bureau has cut energy use by 3,670 megawatt hours and is saving $300,000 annually in energy use and maintenance. “Based on what we’ve seen, we are realizing close to 55 percent energy savings, so it’s already exceeding our program goal,” says Ed Ebrahimian, director of the bureau.
All of the results of its tests and progress reports are available on the bureau’s Web site, www.bsl.lacity.org, which is updated regularly with the most recent information about the program.
Project: Street Lighting Energy Efficiency Program
Jurisdiction: Los Angeles
Agency: Bureau of Street Lighting in the Public Works Department
Vendors involved: Numerous LED and monitoring equipment manufacturers
Date began: October 2008
Cost: $57 million