Obama Rolls Out Nationwide LED Streetlight Upgrade Plan

U.S. President Barack Obama asked local leaders to upgrade 1.5 million streetlights to LEDs at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter meeting, held last Friday at the White House, according to a CNN report.

Outdoor lighting in the U.S. will consume enough energy to power 6 million homes this year, costing cities about $10 billion annually, wrote Dan Utech, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change in a White House blog entry.

By switching to LED technology, local governments can cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50 percent or more. The launch of the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting, and tripling the DOE Better Buildings program goal of upgrading 500,000 poles to 1.5 million, to encourage more mayors to lead their cities with this win-win solution.

Through the Better Buildings Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting will work with dozens of municipalities to accelerate the adoption and use of high-efficiency outdoor lighting, driving carbon pollution reductions in communities across the nation. Given that streetlight systems can account for up to 60 percent of a city’s electric utility bill, more are taking advantage of the savings that come with upgrading outdoor lighting.

Hugh Martin, CEO of Sensity Systems, an LED conversion company told CNN that the sensor equipped LED streetlights could gather traffic, weather, parking spots and even terrorism data.

Most of the sensor streetlight projects in U.S. are still in trial period.

Martin estimated there are about 530 million high powered lights including streetlights, parking lot lights and warehouse lights. By converting all these lights to LEDs, he projected the U.S. could save about $94 billion a year in energy savings and maintenance, and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 290 million tons per year.

The White House has announced commitments from 10 cities, two states and three regional networks to update their streetlights.

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