Boston Common Goes Green with LEDs

Continuing its “green” city initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the City of Boston is updating its streetlights with LED technology on Boston Common. The City recently installed LED lights along the “Mayor’s Walk” as part of an effort to showcase the technology and solicit community input. The temporary installation features “acorn” style streetlamps from six different manufacturers. The City has also joined the national LED City program, an international initiative to deploy and promote energy-efficient LED lighting.

Boston operates and maintains more than 67,000 streetlights throughout the City. Much of that light is reflected upward and not directed toward the ground. LED lighting can be “aimed” so as to reduce spillover onto buildings and light pollution into the night sky. Light pollution shines into homes, makes enjoying the stars, planets and astronomical events more difficult and has been shown to disorient migrating birds and waterfowl.         

The six different styles of “acorn” fixtures were provided by Lumec Lighting Company, Hadco Lighting, Sternberg Lighting, Osram Sylvania Company, King Luminaire Company and Spring City Electrical Company and will be in place through the end of the year.

Boston’s streetlights generate 24,000 tons of carbon (eCO2) emissions annually, which accounts for about 8% of all municipal emissions. Conversion to LED technology would reduce that by about half. In a program begun nearly ten years ago by the Boston Transportation Department, more than 11,000 traffic signals and 1,800 pedestrian crossing lights were gradually replaced with LEDs. As a result, the City saved nearly $400,000 annually in energy costs. LED traffic signals have also been shown to be more effective as the multiple elements won’t burn out all at once and the light is brighter and more intense, getting the driver’s attention more quickly.

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