Lansing, Michigan, utility expands trial of LED street lighting

Nov. 6, 2008
With the streetlight trial going smoothly and positive response from residents, the utility gave the go-ahead for 6 additional LED fixtures.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light (LBWL), a municipally owned utility in Lansing, Michigan, recently expanded its trial of LED street lamps with the addition of six new fixtures.

The city now has 23 LED streetlights with neutral white Luxeon Rebel LEDs, and LBWL officials are considering a significantly larger pilot to determine whether the 34,000 high pressure sodium and metal halide street lamps in the greater Lansing area will eventually be replaced with LED models.

Public reaction to the initial LED streetlights has apparently been positive. In a recent survey, 85% of respondents said the new fixtures have a pleasant glow, sufficient brightness and safe light pattern. The vast majority also said they supported installation of solid-state street lamps in other neighborhoods.

“The ‘green’ movement is making it important for us to implement environmentally friendly solutions wherever possible, and that includes street lighting,” said Roger Adsit, LBWL street lighting designer. “Everything is going well with the fixtures in this pilot so far, and we are continuing to pursue the possibility of transitioning to LED street lamps over the long term.”

Lansing is among a growing number of municipalities around the world that are evaluating the use of solid-state illumination for street lights to take advantage of various LED cost, performance and technical benefits. These include an energy savings of up to 50%, long LED life, mercury-free construction, and better color rendering that can help improve safety and security by reproducing truer color and and sharper detail – particularly when compared to the yellow light cast by sodium lamps.

The LED light engines used in the fixtures were designed by Midwest Circuits, a Ferndale, Michigan-based manufacturer of LED assemblies for outdoor lighting applications.

Lansing’s first 17 Luxeon-based street lamps were installed in 2007 to explore the possibility of illuminating area roadways and sidewalks with LEDs to reduce energy and bulb replacement costs. After the LBWL received an American Public Power Association (APPA) Demonstration of Energy Efficient Development ("DEED") grant to experiment with LED lighting, the utility approached a number of vendors for proposals.

When it learned about the LBWL project, Midwest approached the LBWL with a prototype board. Impressed, the LBWL provided Midwest with a few lamp heads so that the company could develop test fixtures. After thorough testing of products from all the major power LED manufacturers, Midwest chose Luxeon LEDs from Philips Lumileds through Future Lighting Solutions, the exclusive worldwide distributor of Luxeon LEDs.