The Coming out of Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

After deciding to replace the streetlights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for an energy saving of up to 70 percent, one city in the United States, Chattanooga Tennessee, also augmented this replacement with radio-controlled maintenance system which slashes maintenance costs and raised the energy savings into the 70-80 percent range.1

The city’s streetlamps were replaced at a cost of $ 18.1 million with estimated annual energy savings of $ 2.7 million when the project is completed in 2013, for a payback period of 7 years. With the radio network, the city can turn their streetlights on and off to tailor brightness to the neighborhood’s lighting needs, that is correlated with dawn and dusk times, so the lights only come on as needed. The maintenance system also tells workers when a bulb is burned out, when power is lost or if other repairs are needed. Energy usage data is fed back to the local electric company, eliminating the need for manual meter reading. The Chattoonga conversion to LED for its street lights was undertaken by a local company, Global Green Lighting, but there are several major competitors such as General Electric, Osram Sylvania and Philips Electronics who collectively control about 40 percent of the North American conversion market.


1 Bloomberg Businessweek, LEDs: A Brighter Future For Streetlamps, May 14-20