New York Street Lights to be upgraded to LED

Streetlights in the Big Apple are getting a major makeover to more energy efficient LEDs, according to reports by Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Newsday. New York will be replacing 250,000 street lights with LED lamps by 2017, said the city mayor Michael Bloomberg. The LED replacements are expected to help the city cut US$ 14 million in electric and maintenance costs. 

The LED streetlight replacement project is already being implemented, with the Department of Transportation (DOT) installing the new luminaires in Central Park walkways, overpasses on the FDR Drive and on several bridges across the East River. According to the DOT, replacement of Eastern Parkway pedestrian lights could help the city save power 248,000 kilowatt-hours per year and save US$ 70,000.

A DOT spokesman revealed the city will spend US$ 79 million on the replacement project. Mayor Bloomberg estimates energy and maintenance savings will allow the project to repay itself in six years. He also stated the transfer to LEDs was basically a “no brainer” in terms of cost savings, while projecting other international cities will soon follow New York’s lead.

However, international LED manufacturers hoping to take part in the New York City streetlight biddings might be disappointed. The city’s LED streetlights have been contracted to U.S. manufacturers. “Our manufacturing industries have started to revive here and we’re exporting a lot,” WSJ quoted Bloomberg saying. “You shouldn’t be surprised. There’s no reason to think everything is made overseas.” 

The WSJ report was quick to point out, though, the LED lights on display at the press conference manufactured by American Electric Lighting are actually made in Mexico.

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