Pittsburgh and San Jose looking at LEDs for street lighting

Feb. 9, 2009
Two major cities in the USA are considering plans to start converting street lights to LEDs.
Pittsburgh is considering the replacement of its 40,000 street lights with LED fixtures, according to a news report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The city estimates it could save up to upwards of $1.4 million a year in energy and maintenance costs, and “look nicer.”

Next month the city expects to invite firms to submit ideas for a pilot transformation of some portion of the city's street light system to one of several available technologies, including LED, although other efficient technologies have not been ruled out.

Public Works Director Guy Costa said the city spends around $4 million a year powering and maintaining its lights, and figured the city could shave $1.4 million from that total.

Council officials debated how to select a vendor for the work, which could involve a $25 million contract, through a competitive bidding process.

Meanwhile in California, San Jose is looking to replace its 62,000 streetlights with new 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,” according to the Mercury News.

For decades, says the article, San Jose motorists, pedestrians and police have complained about the city's thousands of yellow streetlights, which are too easily confused with traffic signals, and distort the colors of cars and painted curbs.

San Jose plans to convert 100 lights this spring, and is seeking $20 million from a government stimulus package to install 20,000 new lights as part of a project that officials think will attract national attention. The goal is to have all the city's streetlights changed by 2022.