Anchorage joins LED City initiative, plans to install LED roadway lights

July 30, 2008
The Alaskan city hopes to improve light quality and reduce energy costs, and has allocated $2.2 million for a first-phase installation of LED fixtures.
LED maker Cree and the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, have announced Anchorage’s participation in Cree's LED City® program, an international program that promotes the deployment of energy-efficient LED lighting.

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich announced his city’s participation in conjunction with an energy-related initiative calling for the retrofit of all 16,000 municipal roadway lights with high-efficiency LED fixtures.

Begich said that the city has allocated $2.2 million to enable the purchase of LED fixtures to change out roughly one-quarter of Anchorage’s streetlights.

“We have studied new lighting technology extensively over the past several months to validate energy and maintenance cost savings," said Begich. "We also conducted a lighting conference and public survey in March of this year that showed our residents overwhelmingly approve of the new white LED lighting. With this feedback and quantified costs savings research in hand, we are confident in moving ahead with the broad deployment of LED lighting for our roadways.”

Deb Lovig, Cree LED City program manager, said that lighting is absolutely critical to daily life in Anchorage, where approximately 85 days a year see less than eight hours of daylight. Because of Anchorage’s latitude, summer days are very long and winter daylight hours are very short. Anchorage is often cloudy during the winter, which decreases the amount of sunlight experienced by residents. "It is significant that this community is at the forefront of adopting energy-efficient lighting,” said Lovig.

Anchorage will buy LED fixtures from BetaLED, which are expected to use 50-percent less energy than current streetlights, which could save the city $360,000 annually at today’s energy prices. The LED fixtures, based on Cree XLamp LEDs, typically last up to seven times longer than high-pressure sodium fixtures, allowing Anchorage to better utilize maintenance resources.

LED City is an expanding community of government and industry parties working to evaluate, deploy and promote LED lighting technology (provided that the lighting includes Cree LEDs) across the full range of municipal infrastructure to save energy, protect the environment, reduce maintenance costs and provide better light quality for improved visibility and safety.

LED City program participants are Raleigh, NC, USA; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Austin, TX, USA; Tianjin, China; Torraca, Italy, and now Anchorage, AK.