New York City switches all streetlights to LED

New York City is set to upgrade all 250,000 of its streetlights to LED over the next few years. This is part of the city government’s PlaNYC to cut its carbon footprint by 30 per cent by 2017. 

The current high pressure sodium streetlights need to be replaced every six years and consume a lot of energy, resulting in huge bills for the city. The LED lanterns are expected to require far less maintenance and last up to 20 years, saving the city around US$8 million (€5 million) a year in expenses. New York believes this retrofit, which should be completed in time for the PlaNYC deadline, will make a huge dent in its  carbon dioxide reduction goals. It should also allow New York City to save around US$6 million (€3.7 million) on electricity bills each year, and about 248,000kWh in energy.

Michael Bloomberg, who until just a few days ago was mayor of New York City, called the upgrade a ‘no brainer’ in an announcement made on one of the streets already upgraded to the new LED lanterns.

He said: 'With roughly a quarter-million street lights in our City, upgrading to more energy efficient lights is a large and necessary feat. It will save taxpayers millions of dollars, move us closer to achieving our ambitious sustainability goals, and help us to continue reducing city government’s day-to-day costs and improving its operations.'

The first of three phases to replace the sodium streetlights is expected to be completed by December 2015, with completion of the final phase pencilled in for 2017. Once all the streetlighting have been replaced, the city plans to address decorative fixtures in its business and commercial districts. 

New York City’s 6,000 miles of streets and 12,000 miles of pavements will soon be paved in a white light, in what the city believes is the country’s largest ever LED retrofit. Earlier this year, Los Angeles announced a similar city-wide retrofit of 210,000 streetlights to LED. 

Pic by Nick Harris