The Climate Group Urges Governments to Swap City Streetlights to LEDs by 2025

Today, The Climate Group, which is hosting its annual Climate Week NYC, called on every single city and utility around the world to schedule the switch of their street lighting to LED by 2025 and launched its new major global campaign LED = Lower Emissions Delivered, to encourage local governments, cities and utilities to embrace the carbon and cost benefits of switching to LED.

A new report, The Big Switch: Why it's time to scale up LED street lighting, published by The Climate Group today, reveals that major cities around the world want to upgrade to LED. Technological barriers for switching to LED have now been overcome. However, in the run-up to COP21, cities want more support from government and financial institutions to refine business models and financing options to help make the switch.

The Times Square Ball in New York lit with Philips green LEDs. The Climate Group and Philips urged country leaders at Climate Week NYC to swap their streetlights to LEDs. (Photo Courtesy of Philips)

Trials show that those cities that have adopted LED street lighting achieved energy savings of between 50-70% and these savings increase when combined with LED smart controls.

The findings are the result of a two-year consultation by The Climate Group with cities, following our global LED street-lighting trials in 12 major cities including New York, London, Kolkata and Sydney. The consultations were conducted in cooperation with Philips Lighting.

“As an emissions-cutting and money-saving technology, LED street lighting is the big no-brainer. There is no longer any reason why the big switch shouldn’t start today, accelerating adoption in the US and around the world”, said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group. “Our global trials and stakeholder consultations have shown that, when it comes to tackling climate change, LEDs are the lowest of the low hanging fruit and easiest to implement. It’s technically proven, commercially viable, and already resulting in major savings for cities around the world. With the number of street lights around the world likely to hit 350 million by 2025, local governments, utilities and financial institutions need to work together to ensure that all new and existing street lights are LED – or of equivalent energy efficiency – by 2025.”

“Here, in New York, the city is replacing 250,000 street lights with LED, this is the largest project of its kind in the US. By 2017, the city will be saving US$14 million in energy and maintenance costs. If every outdoor light in the US was switched to LED, the nation would save US$6 billion - and the carbon reductions would be the same as taking 8.5 million cars off the roads.”

In 2013, the city of Los Angeles started installing 140,000 LED street lights. It has already reported energy savings of 63% and cost savings around US$8.7 million in 2014. Today, with the help of Philips Lighting, the city is upgrading to ‘Smart LEDs’, a system that uses mobile and cloud-based technologies, with potential energy savings of up to 80%.

 “The move to new LED and connected LED street lighting is encouraging,” said Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Philips Lighting, “However, the current renovation rates of existing streetlights are too slow. We need to double the renovation rate so that we keep pace with the rising demand for energy. Renewing existing infrastructure with LEDs needs to be a priority if cities are to realize the benefits of saving in money and energy and better lit, safer streets.

Switching to LEDs is not only beneficial in terms of savings and emissions, according to The Climate Group’s report, which also highlights additional socio-economic benefits. Light quality improvements result in better visibility and reductions in road accidents. Cities upgrading to LED street lights have also reported opportunities for new commercial investment and enhancement of regions which benefit from the improved infrastructure.

For further details about Philips partnership with The Climate Group and its involvement please click here.

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