Berkeley California to Switch to LED Street Lights

The City of Berkeley, California, in accordance with its Climate Action
Plan, is developing a plan to replace conventional street lights with LED
lighting. The Berkeley City Council voted to allow the city manager to seek a
$3.5 million loan from the state Energy Commission to switch out its old high
pressure sodium and metal halide lamps with light emitting diode (LED) fixtures
beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

The city says that LED street lights provide an improved, whiter, brighter
light quality which enhances night visibility while lowering energy
consumption, and maintenance costs. The city also notes that LED street lights
emit directional light which provides more control over what is lit (streets
and sidewalks) versus what should remain dark (the night sky). This makes it
easier to comply with the Dark Skies Initiative, which aims to reduce light
pollution and its associated wildlife impacts. Streetlights make up 32% of the
City’s municipal electricity load.

The city first conducted a pilot LED street light installation in late 2012
known as the Marina LED Project.

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In the pilot project, 75 high-pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights were
replaced with LED lights at the Berkeley Marina, on University Avenue, west of
West Frontage Rd. and including the full lengths of Marina Blvd, Spinnaker Way
and Seawall Drive. The new fixtures were mounted on the existing cobra head
style light poles. The city will reportedly expand the pilot project to
include Telegraph Avenue between Bancroft Avenue and Dwight Way in early 2014.
The city expects to eventually upgrade the 7,600 streetlights to the new
technology.

According to the city, other potential benefits of the LED-based street
lights include: improved lighting conditions for drivers and pedestrians alike,
improved night visibility due to higher color rendering and higher color
temperature, increased light uniformity and distribution of light between
poles, enhanced directionality and controllability, reduced light pollution,
significantly longer lifespan, instant-on with no run-up or re-strike delays,
and less toxic, LED lights contain no mercury or lead and are 100%
recyclable.

The city plans to use remote monitoring and controls for the LED street
lights to provide additional feedback. There is no word on the exact savings
expected, but the city reportedly spends about $600,000 per year to power its
street lights. The city reportedly plans to begin seeking bids for the project
in December.