New York City set for LED switch by 2017

When you’re the city that never sleeps, it’s important to keep the lights on – but as well all know, leaving the lights on isn’t the epitome of energy efficiency. Which is why thew City of New York will be transitioning it’s street lights to more energy-friendly LEDs over the next four years.

Speaking last week, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg outlined that a four-year timeframe for changing all of New York City’s staggering 250,000 streetlights to energy efficient LED bulbs.

In what could be one of the hugest case studies in favour of LED lighting, the Mayor’s office has put together initial estimates of around $14 million dollars in savings on energy spending per year once the whole city is on LED lights.

The figures are based on two key advantages LED lights have over a traditional filament sodium bulb:

  • LED lights last for much longer. The varieties that New York City’s authorities are looking to implement last around twenty years, compared to the six year lifespan of the current bulbs.
  • LED lights are also consume a lot less power for the same amount of light: in monetary terms, the Big Apple will save some $6m every year in providing power for these more-effectient bulbs.

“With roughly a quarter-million street lights in our city, upgrading to more energy efficient lights is a large and necessary feat,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement, which also reveal the expected timeframe of the project, “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.”

Whilst the news is undoubtedly welcome, it is somewhat delayed; the City’s officials have been trialling the bulbs in famous Central Park since 2009 since partnering with environmental-thinking initiative ‘The Climate Group’ as well as the US Department of Energy.

The project will be the largest retrofitting of it’s kind in the US, overtaking Los Angeles’ own LED drive – which replaced a remarkable 141,089 lightbulbs with LEDs last year.