Seattle City Light celebrated the launch of its LED streetlight project today with the first installations in Ballard.
“Our community can be proud of City Light’s work to improve streetlight service while strengthening public safety, saving taxpayer dollars, using less energy and reducing our impact on the environment,” Mayor Mike McGinn said.
With lower energy and maintenance costs, City Light expects the LED streetlights to save $294,000 in the first year and $2.4 million per year once all 40,000 have been installed.
“We are entering a new era in street lighting,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “LEDs use 40 percent less energy and last three times longer than the high-pressure sodium lights that have been the standard for the past 30 years. That means better reliability, less maintenance, a longer life cycle, and lower operating costs for our customers.”
City Light will install 5,000 LED streetlights in residential neighborhoods this year and a total of 40,000 during the next five years. The 2010 installations will take place from the Ship Canal to 65th Street. The utility also started pilot projects to test LED streetlights on arterial roads.
The LEDs being installed generate a white light that is comparable to moonlight. This enhances peripheral vision and depth of field, making it easier to see small objects in the road and reducing the color distortion caused by the amber glow of existing high-pressure sodium lights. Finally, the LEDs provide better control over where the light is directed, reducing spillover into home windows and the night sky.
“Simply put, LED technology provides better lighting at a lower cost,” Councilmember Bruce Harrell said. “This is smart use of the public’s money and enhances public safety.”
Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.