LED Lights Take Center Stage in Citywide Energy Conservation Plans

As the issue of global warming has become more visible, largely in the form of melting icebergs and endangered species, millions of private businesses and homes across the world have taken matters into their own hands and have begun replacing traditional appliances with energy-saving counterparts — and every energy-wasting item, right down to traditional halogen light bulbs, is being phased out.

It was only a matter of time before entire communities and cities began taking action, too. Considering that LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs save both electricity and money (compared to traditional non-digital billboards or signs), it’s no surprise that so many cities across the globe are actively switching to LED lights.

In fact, research shows that switching to LED light bulbs can save about 30% in energy costs — and when an entire city replaces its streetlights and traffic lights with LED bulbs, the millions of dollars that it costs to replace the light bulbs is an investment that pays off quite quickly.

As New York Times‘s Diane Cardwell recently reported, Copenhagen is becoming a global leader in this development. The city, which is well-known for having an usually large number of bicyclists and for being ultra-conscious of its environmental impact, is installing LED lights that conserve energy and also make streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Ultimately, the city hopes to become the first carbon-neutral city in the world by 2025; replacing thousands of lighting fixtures with new LED bulbs, as well as installing streetlight sensors that will automatically dim the lights when cars and pedestrians pass by, is merely a primary step for Copenhagen.

As Cardwell notes, Copenhagen isn’t alone in its endeavor. Estimates show that about 50 million old light bulbs are expected to be replaced with LED bulbs over the next three years, and at least half of these replacements will occur in European cities.

Over in the Canadian city of Halton, for example, city officials are pushing to replace about 10,000 street light bulbs with LED bulbs by the end of 2015. Even though the project could could as much as $5.5 million, the engineers heading the project state that the city will save about $700,000 per year with the LED bulbs.

Additionally, officials note, the clear white light of LED bulbs (compared to the dim yellow lights of halogen bulbs) will likely create safer streets by reducing the number of traffic accidents and decreasing street crime.

And of course, at the root of the light bulb replacements is the fact that cities will be able to decrease their energy waste and light pollution, leaving the environment safer and healthier in more ways than one.


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