It’s easy being green. On October 24, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan came to Brooklyn to announce that by 2017, all 250,000 street lights in the city will be replaced with energy efficient LEDs.
The move marks a major step forward for PlaNYC, the effort undertaken by Bloomberg to prepare the city for one million more residents, strengthen the economy, enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers, and deal with climate change.
“With roughly a quarter-million street lights in our city, upgrading to more energy efficient lights is a large and necessary feat,” said Bloomberg during the press conference held on Eastern Parkway. “It will save taxpayers millions of dollars, move us closer to achieving our ambitious sustainability goals, and help us to continue reducing City government’s day-to-day costs and improving its operations.”
The plan works in three phases, the first being the replacing of the standard cobra head high-pressure sodium street lights. They will upgrade 80,000 at a time across the five boroughs with completion expected by 2015. LEDs have a 20-year life expectancy before requiring replacement, which could save up to 80 percent on maintenance.
“Using LEDs for street lighting is more than just a bright idea, it’s a necessity for sustainable cities to operate more efficiently while also delivering clearer, better quality light for New Yorkers,” said Sadik-Khan. “From our parks to our bridges and to our streets and highways, these 250,000 lights will brighten New York City’s streetscapes for generations to come.”
LEDs have already been installed along Eastern Parkway between Grand Army Plaza and Ralph Avenue. New York City was the first large American city to use LED traffic signals, converting fixtures at all of the 12,700 signalized intersections citywide and producing an annual energy savings of 81 percent.