Osram donates LED retrofit kits to light US National Mall

Electric utility Pepco provided free installation of the 174 Osram LED retrofit kits that have brought uniform SSL to historic bronze poles and cast-iron post-top lights that line the Mall from 3rd to 15th streets.

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A Monday, January 30 ceremony marked the switch-on of new LED-based lighting along the US National Mall in Washington, DC that will generate 65% energy savings. US politicians, the National Park Service, and the Trust for the National Mall celebrated the installation of 174 solid-state lighting (SSL) retrofit kits donated by Osram Sylvania and installed for free by local electric utility Pepco.

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LEDs light walkways and grassy areas

US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu attended the National Mall Ceremony. Secretary Chu said, "Installing these energy-efficient bulbs on the National Mall is an important demonstration of our commitment to partnering with the private sector to promote energy saving technologies." Secretary Salazar added, "There is no more fitting place to install these state-of-the-art, energy-efficient bulbs than right here in America’s front yard, the National Mall."

The Mall had been lit with a mix of high-intensity discharge (HID) and compact fluorescent (CFL) sources. The prior installation resulted in non-uniform lighting with wide color discrepancy.

Osram Sylvania donated the D6 Area Lighting LED Retrofit Kits that now deliver more uniform white lighting while maintaining the historic appearance of the poles and fixtures. "The National Mall plan calls for ‘sustainable, yet respectful enhancements’ to the park," said Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall. "As such, it was important to maintain the historic architectural integrity of the original lamp fixtures that line the park. Because the Sylvania LED Retrofit Kit does not require new construction, it fit into the Mall’s existing cast iron light fixtures, eliminating the need for new construction and preserving the historic fluted bronze street-light posts that support the fixtures."

Environmental impacts

The 55W retrofit kits will deliver significant energy savings estimated at 65%. Specifically, the new lights will use 77,500 kWh less energy annually. That reduction equates to eliminating 188,480 pounds of power plant greenhouse gas emissions each year. The directional LED fixtures have also reduced light pollution compared to the wasted light that previously spilled upward into the sky.

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Retrofit maintains historic appearance

The Osram Sylvania fixtures were valued at more than $100,000 and the products were manufactured in the US. "Sylvania is honored to light our nation’s favorite national park with innovative and cutting-edge LED technology assembled here on US soil," said Rick Leaman, president and CEO of Osram Sylvania. "This energy-efficient lighting transformation of our country’s National Mall will create a brilliant display of light while also providing a welcoming environment to visitors in the years to come."

Both Osram and Pepco have previously contributed to Mall lighting projects. "Pepco is proud to have been part of the federal reconstruction of the National Mall in the 1930’s when Pepco overhead crews first installed the street lights that line the Mall,” said Joseph M. Rigby, chairman, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, Inc. "Today we are proud to be part of another illumination of the Mall by installing attractive, energy-efficient lights in the original historic lamp posts."

Back in 2001, Osram Sylvania installed the first SSL in the Mall, lighting portions of the Jefferson Memorial with LEDs. Osram noted that those lights are still delivering bright white light with consistent color today.

"Osram Sylvania has been incredibly generous for over a decade in helping us bring efficient and beautiful light to the parks and monuments we maintain," said Bob Vogel, the superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks. "This project was no different. The Sylvania solution was totally in line with our sustainability initiatives, and we didn’t have to compromise on aesthetics."

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