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April 2010
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CityLink Seattle

Seattle Picked to Lead National Effort on LED Street Lights



The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that Seattle City Light will lead a new national effort to promote the installation of energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) street lights. The Municipal Solid State Street Lighting Consortium will share information, performance results and residents’ feedback about LED street lights with participating communities from coast to coast.

“Interest in LED street lighting is surging across the country, fueled in part by Recovery Act funding for municipal energy efficiency improvements,” Department of Energy Program Manager Jim Brodrick said. “As communities look to this technology to cut energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint and lower operating costs, this national consortium will share valuable information so they can make smarter, more informed decisions about the equipment they buy.”

“On behalf of DOE, Seattle City Light will lead this national effort to disseminate best practices and lessons learned, building a repository of valuable field experience and data that will significantly accelerate the learning curve for buying and implementing high quality, energy-efficient LED street lights,” Brodrick said.

During the next year, City Light will be responsible for recruiting at least 50 other communities to join the consortium and share their experiences through national and regional meetings, webcasts, web-based discussion forums, and other means. The Department of Energy is providing $200,000 in funding for Consortium efforts. Edward Smalley, City Light’s manager of streetlight engineering, will serve as director for the consortium.

With over 34 million street lights in use across the United States, the Department of Energy estimates that promoting the use of LED technology has the potential to save communities more than $750 million a year in energy costs alone.

10th St. at E Aloha Ave. with LED street lights.

E Aloha St. at 11th Ave. with high-pressure sodium street lights.

Seattle will install 5,000 LED streetlights this year and a total of 40,000 during the next five years.

“This is a good step to upgrade our infrastructure, to save money and conserve energy,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “I commend Seattle City Light on their leadership.”

“Providing our neighborhoods with adequate, reliable lighting is absolutely critical,” adds Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chairman of the Council’s Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee.  “It’s a matter of public safety, as well as smart, energy-efficient business practice.”

City Light reviewed more than 100 models of LED street light fixtures and tested nine as part of pilot projects in the Capitol Hill, West Seattle, and South Park neighborhoods to decide what equipment to use. In surveys, 85 percent of respondents approved of the new lights.

“In 2005, Seattle City Light became the first large U.S. utility to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions and has maintained that status for five years,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “Adding LED street lights to our system will not only lower energy consumption, but also reduce the number of vehicle trips required for maintenance because the equipment lasts three times longer than current street lights.”

Watch the announcement on The Seattle Channel.

About Seattle City Light

Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States.  It has the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.

About the DOE Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium

The DOE Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium, led by Seattle City Light, will establish a coordinated effort among interested cities, power providers, and government entities to share technical information and experiences related to LED street lighting demonstrations. To learn more, visit www.ssl.energy.gov/consortium.html.