In 2009, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched the Los Angeles LED Street Lighting Energy and Efficiency Program. The plan: swap out over 140,000 street lights and replace them with highly efficient light-emitting diodes. The effort was the largest such street LED light replacement program in the world.
The project is a salient example of the benefits to biting the bullet on high upfront costs in exchange for big savings down the road. In addition to its environmental costs of 110,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide released annually, L.A.’s street lights cost the city $15 million each year. That amounted to between 10 and 38 percent of its utility bill. LEDs use less energy than traditional bulbs. They also last much longer. While a typical street lamp has a life of four to six years, LED lamps last 10 to 12 years. So switching also reduces maintenance and material costs for the city.
The replacement program cost an estimated $57 million over the four years. It was funded through a $40 million loan and $16 million in rebate funds from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, as well as $3.5 million from the Street Lighting Maintenance Assessment Fund. After the loans are repaid through energy savings, the program is expected to save the city $10 million annually from reduced energy usage and maintenance.
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Written by: William O’Connor
Source: The Daily Beast