LEDs for Outdoor Use

The City of Palo Alto had a streetlight pilot project last summer to evaluate different streetlighting technologies. Light Emitting Diode (LED) streetlights are up to 40% more energy efficient than High Pressure Sodium (HPS) streetlights.

The LED streetlights will have a whiter light compared with HPS street lights and will offer improved visibility for drivers,  pedestrians and  bicyclists. LED streetlights also have lower maintenance costs than HPS lights due to the longer lamp life.

The City is currently evaluating LED streetlights from different manufacturers that closely match the existing type of lighting fixture. Palo Alto installed test fixtures on a number of the local streets in the town.

The City is planning to schedule a walk-through tour of the streetlights in the residential streets in early May to gather feedback from the community.  After the walk through tour, the community’s input also will be considered in developing specifications on the preferred streetlight fixture type. Feedback will help to narrow down the choice of LED streetlights. By early 2011, the City expects to install around 600 LED fixtures. This project is funded through a federal stimulus fund grant.

The City currently has 6,300 HPS streetlights. Assuming the pilot project finds continuing energy savings and subject to Council approval of the funding source, the Utilities Department will schedule replacements of all other HPS street lights in coming years.  Replacing these HPS streetlights with more energy efficient ones can potentially reduce around 600 metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) per year upon full rollout by about 2015, which is equivalent to taking 120 passenger vehicles off the road annually. GHG reduction associated with upgrading the streetlights will help the City meet its GHG reduction target by 2020


LED Lights have been installed on an old rail bridge spanning the Hudson River stretching 1.25 miles from Poughkeepsie to Highland NY, along a scenic stretch of the Hudson River Valley about 70 miles north of New York City.

A new smooth concrete walkway has been laid over the rusty skeleton of the 19th Century bridge that once carried smoke-puffing locomotive trains.

The walkway is open to pedestrians and bicyclists. The LED lights are strung along the underside of the railings for special events under the night sky. A nonprofit group, Walkway Over the Hudson, has planned a gala event on May 15, 2010 to unveil the new LED lights.

IBEW Local 363 Electrical workers through All Bright Electric of West Nyack proudly installed the new lights. The NY State Office of Parks and Recreation operates the walkway.


Former President Clinton partnered with Los Angeles officials on February 16th to announce the launch of the nation’s largest environmentally -friendly street lightbulb replacement program.  “Greening is the future of Los Angeles,” Clinton told a group of 100 invited guests at City Hall.

Los Angeles plans to spend $57 million to retrofit 140,000 streetlights with LED bulbs, a move that is expected to save the city $10 million a year in energy costs.  The program is financed with a $14 million rebate from the Department of Water and Power as part of its energy efficiency program and a $40 million loan from the agency. It will be paid back over seven years, at an interest rate of 5.25 percent.  With the current economic climate in California, we hope the city will follow through with the investment in the interest of recouping energy costs down the road. Clinton said the program was one of a number of things that Los Angeles and other cities should look to finance under President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, which includes millions for environmental programs. 

The Clinton Climate Initiative, former president’s charitable foundation, came to the city with the concept of replacing the energy-wasting lightbulbs with the more energy-efficient LEDs lights.  “This partnership is a tremendous example of how cities can cut costs, while also make a significant impact in the fight against climate change,” Clinton said.

City officials said the LED bulbs will result in savings because of reduced energy costs, while they will also last four to five times longer than the six-year life span of existing bulbs.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is up for re-election March 3 and has been endorsed by Clinton, said the LED program is the latest in a series of efforts by his administration to help the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels. Villaraigosa set a goal for 20 percent of Los Angeles’ power to be renewable by 2010 and 35 percent to be renewable by 2020.

“We are lighting the way to a greener L.A.,” Villaraigosa said. “This is the largest retrofit program of any city in the country”.

Under the program, scheduled to begin in June 2009, the Bureau of Street Services will begin replacing the bulbs in the two-thirds of the city’s 210,000 street signals that can be retrofitted.  It is expected to take five years to replace all the bulbs, starting with 20,000 the first year and 30,000 in each of the succeeding years.

Pittsburgh, PA announced a plan to convert all 40,000 city street lights to LED light sources, saving taxpayers an estimated $2.5 million dollars annually in energy and maintenance costs. The effort is also an eco-friendly one; the change is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 984 pounds each year.

The reasons for the change are the same reasons many cities are choosing LEDs – they use less energy, provide bright light, contain no mercury, take less maintenance to sustain, etc.

Mercury News reports that “For nearly three decades, San Jose motorists, pedestrians and cops have griped about the city’s thousands of yellow streetlights, and with good reason.

They are too easily confused with traffic signals, they distort the colors of cars and painted curbs, and they make even a full-moon night look gloomy.

But here’s some bright news. The city is looking to replace its 62,000 streetlights with new light-emitting diode (LED) versions that will cast a white, warm glow, could cut energy costs in half, and will use state-of-the-art technology to vary their intensity and timing.

The plan is to convert 100 lights this spring, a pace that could be quickened if stimulus funds being debated in Congress are sent this way. The city is seeking $20 million to install 20,000 new lights as part of a project officials think will be watched nationally.

The goal is to have all the city’s streetlights changed by 2022.  Although the new lights will cost a lot of money initially, the city estimates it could recoup its costs within five years.  San Jose’s street lighting bill is nearly $4 million a year. It’s gotten high enough that the city turned off 900 streetlights last year to save money.

“This is a win-win-win,” said Jim Helmer, head of San Jose’s Department of Transportation. “The potential is huge.”

Trees and objects in Odori Park in Sapporo’s main downtown district are lit up from November 28th, 2008 to January 4th, 2009 as part of the Sapporo White Illumination Festival that marks the coming of the snow season in the capital city of Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.  

Sapporo White Illumination


The pictures below are of 4.5 million LEDs at the Winter Light Show that runs until March 8, 2009 in the Nabana no Sato theme park in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, in Japan. This year’s theme is flowers, illuminated in 64 billion colors that are reported to change color so quickly that they actually resemble a river more than a field of blooming plants.  

LED lighting

Vivid color-changing LED technology enables a production of 64 billion colors. The rapidly changing colors look like a river flowing in front of your eyes.



Cree, Inc., a market leader in LED lighting, announced that Indian Wells, California, has joined the LED City initiative, an international program that promotes the deployment of energy-efficient LED lighting. The city has converted much of the lighting in City Hall, the Emergency Operations Center and the Public Works Maintenance Facility in Indian Wells to LED lighting. Indian Wells is home to several world-class resorts and is internationally recognized for hosting high-profile golf and tennis events.

"It is initiatives like these that have made California a world leader in energy efficiency," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "I applaud the City of Indian Wells and the University of California, Davis for promoting the kinds of energy-efficiency measures that California needs to meet our aggressive goal of 33-percent renewable energy by 2020."

All circular recessed lighting in the buildings was converted to the Cree LR6 LED light, reducing electricity consumption by 80 percent. The City of Indian Wells plans to evaluate LED lighting for other municipal lighting applications to further increase its energy savings.

Get your CREE LED lights at LEDinsider or Eaglelight which have the best in value and service.


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