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Published on December 20th, 2008 | by Jerry James Stone

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New York City To Get LED Street Lighting

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New York City‘s Department of Transportation has tapped the Office for Visual Interaction for testing LED street lighting around the Big Apple. If successful, all of the city’s 300,000 street lamps could one day be made up of LEDs.

Of course, LEDs are just plain awesome! Their power consumption is much lower than that of standard bulbs. Heck, even lower than that of CFLs.

But the OVI contract doesn’t only replace the current high-pressure sodium lighting, but also introduces a whole new lamp pole as well. While I am a fan of LEDs, I am quite fond of the Gotham-styled lamp poles. Keep your paws off, OVI!

Okay, maybe the new poles aren’t so bad. The poles will be between four to six feet, and have up to 100 LEDs each. They will have four light sources per pole, and can create different light patterns. The light footprints can be tailored for parks, street corners or mid-block.

The city will begin testing with a mere six poles, and the testing period will end by fall of 2009. But even if the city approves the highly-efficient lamps, it’s likely they won’t roll out 300-thousand new lamp poles all at once.

Image: dbox



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About the Author

is a web developer, part-time blogger, and a full-time environmentalist. His crusade for all things eco started twenty years ago when he ditched his meat-and-potatoes upbringing for something more vegetarian-shaped. His passions include cooking, green tech, eco politics, and smart green design. And while he doesn't own a car anymore, he loves to write about those too. Jerry studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. During his time there he was a DJ at the campus station KCPR and he also wrote for the campus paper. Jerry currently resides in San Francisco, CA with his cat Lola. You can stalk him on Twitter @jerryjamesstone.



  • willdacanucker

    Whilst I am not a huge believer in this whole global warming thing, I am an incredibly frugal bastard. This will save tonnes of cash in the long run, and that is great for the taxpayers.

  • Uncle B

    Post (GRD) great republican depression we will all be using LED lighting, and low volt DC solar/battery circuits to power them! Most "Zero running cost, Zero upkeep" survival shelters will be lighted for free, from stored solar power and LEDs. Once the back of the "status quo" has been broken, a cavalcade of radical and life-saving ideas will break forth as sensible and affordable alternatives and the "New American Dream" will bloom and flourish! Even the basic flashlight has been altered forever by LEDs already. Think what the pressures of the GRD will do to development and acceptance of LEDs!

  • Frank

    Does anyone know what a typical sodium-lit streetlight costs/yr, and what the LED lit ones would cost/yr?

  • Jarno

    I hope that they finally concider getting rid of light pollution when designing those lamps.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_pollution

  • jol

    LED lights are great, but expensive :(

  • David Rochlin

    Since the output of the most powerful available LED's really is not enough lumins for area lighting, yet, not without using thousands of diodes per lamp, this is a political, not a practical application. LED's are O.K, for ornamental outdoor lighting, but are only practical for indoor use, for general lighting purposes. Preferably for smaller rooms, nothing big yet. You are not going to replace a 1000 watt, high output, sodium halide lamp, with a couple handfuls of diodes. There are extremely efficient lamps, like induction lighting out there, today, that can provide a great replacement now. I don't think LED is up to this, yet except maybe some products that are still on the lab bench.

  • Rats21

    I think it is a bad, I live around the corner from the first city in north America to put them in and they are not that great. the problem with LED's is they may be efficient but the eco foot print of their construction for it out weights the efficiency so whats the point. plus unlike regular bulbs they slowly burn out over years in the case of the lights they are given 19 years but before they get there they wont have enough light to light your path. so save the huge start up costs and invest in something better

  • Tim Smith

    David Rochlin:

    A recent (2008) NSF energy audit document I read showed that achieving similar lighting output levels for street lights using LEDs vs. high pressure sodium resulted in a 64% energy consumption savings. These are upgrade units not entirely new poles as well. The cost to purchase and install was estimated at about $1000. They're paying $0.40KWhr so the payback is quick.

  • Smarter Cannuck

    Its not weather you believe in global warming or not. Its happening.

    I don't understand how people think of global warming like a religion i believe in this is, i dont belive in that.

    Scientists look at facts, The Facts state there is global warming. What do you need to believe

    Do you believe in god.

    wheres the facts.

    go learn some facts.

  • http://MichiganSweetSpot.com Ann Teliczan

    I'm excited to see this, and am researching ways to incorporate LED lighting into art.

  • LVLEI

    全球变暖是个事实,原因很多而且人们都已经很清楚了。但为什么就不采取行动呢,无视破坏环境的行为存在。从根本上说,加强对市民的教育很有必要。

    Global warming is a fact,there are numerous reasons and almost all the citizens know them.Why not take actions?why we keep turning a blind eye on them?It is essencial to enhence education to citizens!

    I'm a chinese girl,I'm fairly concerened our environment.

  • LEDCurious

    OVI got the contract – what lighting company actually makes the LEDs?

  • Barnabybird

    This only a test, I repeat, only a test. Lets see what kind of results the OVI gets.

  • Stop the Madness

    Yeah, that's what New York really needs? I'm a believer in more efficient energy saving methods but please stop all the global warming madness, it snowed in Las Vegas and New Orleans this year! The democrats really got this global warming thing cornered, if its to hot it's global warming and if its to cold then it's must be global warming. How about the realization that the earth has natural weather cycles and was once a frozen tundra millions of years ago. Global weather patterns are going to change regardless of what man does or doesn't. I'm not saying we shouldn't promote efforts to keep mother earth clean but please stop all the global warming fear mongering.

  • even smarter canucke

    Before anyone shows his or her ignorance again, let's get one thing straight. THE ONLY 'scientists looking at facts' that support global warming are those among us that have 'agendas' based on who commissioned or financed said fact finding mission. Also, he media is so biased it is truly unbelievable. The media gets money and ratings to ' scare' the ignorant sheep and will look for so called 'experts' to back up this. Believe it or not, amongst our professional circles this global warming terrorism campaign unleashed by governments and the media s a big joke. In the end it is a cash grab that, unfortunately , is sucking in the ignorant at an alarming rate. Also, the vast majority of unbiased climatologists and ecologists, say there is ZERO global warming. The earth goes through climatic changes that vary. It has been going on since the absolute beginning of this planet. -So you get some real facts to bring to the party or shut up.

    As far as the LED lights are concerned, they are a good idea IN THE SOUTH. Here in Toronto, the LED stop lights are a big hit, in the warmer months that is. When it starts snowing, they do not generate enough heat to keep the ice and snow off the lens so it does not work that great.

  • http://TackyTeddy.com/ Tj Polczyn

    "The poles will be between four to six feet"

    I fail to understand, apart, high. Poles are set about 60 feet apart and light units are about 20 feet above the roadway.

    Of course being LED's maybe 4 to 6 is correct.

    Maybe the should look into induction lighting, as it seems that for street lighting it might be the way to go.

    TjP

  • Pingback: LED Street Lighting at GC:PVD | Greater City: Providence()

  • penguin

    Global warming is real, is it man-made? Not completely.

    The “facts” state that the Earth is experiencing an increase in the Average Global Temperature. This changes certain weather patterns, and yes Global Warming can result in snow in some places. It’s about the Earth’s Average Global Temperature, not the specific temperature in Las Vagas.

    Another fact is large amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere contributes to warmer temperatures. Want proof? Look at at Mercury and Venus. Mercury is 46 – 70 million Kilometers from the sun with a 42% Oxygen atmosphere and trace amounts of Carbon Dioxide. It’s average temperature is ~350°C. Venus, on the other hand, is 108 million kilometers from the sun with a 96.3% Carbon Dioxide atmosphere. It’s average temperature is ~461°C.

    So, with more CO2 comes higher temps. SO yes Humans are contributing to Global Warming, but we are hardly the only cause. We SHOULD work towards greener energy, if for no other reason then it is sustainable. We wont have gasoline for ever, Fossil Fuels are limited: the Sun, seed oils, wind, etc. are renewable and produce little to no CO2 emissions.

  • Bob

    LEDs are just not ready for a full scale deployment yet. The MOST efficient LEDs still only reliably put out around 70 lumens per watt. While the 50 year old High Pressure Sodium technology achieves 100 lumens per watt. If you want to keep the same light levels as before (highly recommended!), you will actually need to burn MORE energy with LEDs. Where is the energy savings???? And don't give me that Scotopic vs. Photopic BS.

  • Pingback: Inhabitat » New York City to Install Super-Efficient LED Streetlamps()

  • tworthy

    As a side note, the design stems from a competition NYC held in 2004. The winning design team was Thomas Phifer and Partners, with OVI as the lighting designer. The shape of the luminaire, along with the modified base and shaft were designed by these two firms along with Werner Sobek Engineers.

  • Mike Mattox

    Most of what is stated here is, or was true 6 months ago. I am in the LED street light business and I can tell you the new technology is here to replace the decades old technology. It is not expensive as there is a 3-4 year payback. Why continue to throw good money after bad? Plus the light is a nice look rather than the ugly yellow from HPS lights.

  • Pingback: Audi’s All-LED Headlamps Could Boost Electric Cars : Gas 2.0()

  • Minneapolis Resident

    David Rochlin:

    The bridge built here in Minneapolis to replace the 35W Bridge that collapsed is lit entirely with LED lighting. It is probably one of the best lit areas of roadway I have seen. Plenty bright and with a much better color spectrum than any other 'high efficiency' light that I know of short of extremely expensive HMI sources used in Theatrical equipment. All that for a fraction of the amount of energy consumed. (Sorry, but I don't have the actual energy saving statistics to hand…)

    I would say that the LED technology is there, and not stranded on some workbench somewhere…

  • http://RMArch.net Bob Mittelstadt

    Could you put me in touch with the City's project manager; I'd like to know the manufacturer of the new lights etc. for an application in San Francisco.

    Thanks,

    RM

  • DA

    Global Warming, or Climate Change is real. The only scientists who don't believe/concede that human activity is changing our climate are the ones on the payrolls of corporations who profit from causing it. There are hundreds of scientific, governmental and NGO's working on this problem. Tundra that is thawing for the first time in 10,000 years, ancient Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets are breaking up in Delaware sized chunks, etc. Check out the UN's information on this http://www.un.org/climatechange/.
    There is no doubt that the activity of 6 billion people on the Earth is changing the climate. The only questions are what the effects will be and how can we reverse the most devastating.

  • http://www.windblogs.com htrauma

    The average cost of a HPS street light is approximately 70.00 per year and with CO2 emissions of 48 Kgs. LED although new enough no reliable stats have yet been confirmed it is estimated to be 25% of the running cost. The issue is capital cost and operating budgets do not allow for wholesale changes to the current infrastructure in most cities. Some cities are waiting for stimulus funding. City Los Angeles states on their web site they have some 242,000 street light sin operation with an annual cost of $17,000,000.00

  • RomanB

    For those that think Global Warming is here, then answer why the Midwest, Chicago in particular, had the COLDEST winter EVER ON RECORD!!

    The big question about "climate change" is if humans are responsible or is it just a natural cycle. The true scientific evidence shows that humans have very little impact (negative or positive).

    Look at Hiroshima and Nagaski. We were told they would be polluted for centuries when humans unleashed the worst weapon ever created. Guess what, not a trace of radiation now. The Valdez tanker spill in Alaska was supposed to have dire consequences for "centuries", yet 2 years later mother nature washed away all of the oil.

  • RomanB

    DA said on February 23rd, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Global Warming, or Climate Change is real. The only scientists who don’t believe/concede that human activity is changing our climate are the ones on the payrolls of corporations who profit from causing it.

    Oh really. Al Gore's personal wealth was $2M prior to his fictious movie. Now it is $100M, or a net profit of $98 MILLION DOLLARS for talking about global warming. Wonder why he did not make a comment about the COLDEST WINTER ON RECORD this year.

    NBC has made a killing on talking about Earth Day, Green Day, etc.

    Universities do not get research money unless there is a crisis, such as "Global Warming"

    Follow the money.

  • lightsinnyc

    Needs to be solar powered, self activated by low light conditions, and why do lights in our pedestrian dominated city only face the street? It should also illuminate the sidewalks as well. Unless this light can bleed enough light into the sidewalk. The sidewalk should be as bright as the street.

    Also in parks it should be motion activated with 360 degree coverage.

  • http://portlandroots.com Sustainable Portland

    New York is trying really hard to go green. I am very happy for them. LED lighting is the smartest and simplest thing that we could do to immediately reduce energy consumption. New York lights up the sky at night for miles and miles, some lower key lighting might do them some good on the light pollution too.

  • Mike

    L.E.D on street lights in nyc??? kinda strange but if this change does occur, it wont be for AT LEAST for another 20 or more years.

  • Mike

    what some of u guys fail to realize is that even if they start using LED lights for the city, not all of the city will be getting these lights. these led lights will only be used in certain sections of new york, so don't get too excited.

  • http://www.lighting-new-york.com Lighting New York
  • http://www.ledlandscapes.com cambruzzi

    I love the lights. I hope the city uses this design its so modern futurist. LED outdoor lighting is going to save this country so much money and hopefully push more green energy projects.

  • http://lowerkilowatts.com Howard Hanson

    Selling over 2 million cfls and 10's thousands of other energy efficient lighting products there are a lot of comments from people not in the know. LED's are RoHs and are environmentally friendly. The book is being rewritten as we speak on what LED's can actually do. One is your eyes can see better with this type of light (scientifically proven at least 20 years ago). Having sold 100,000 of LED's in the 90's. Lumins is spelled lumens and does not mean a thing about what your eyes see compared to a light meter that measuers lumen s per watt. The question does anyone know what an HPS draws compared to an LED is an easy answer. You pay for KWH and if you draw 250 kwh compared to 60 kwh the difference is the savings. A watt is a watt. The utilities measure how long you use a watt/1000 to come up with KWH. Your electric bill shows this very clearly. LED's are the biggest breakthrough in lighting in over 100 years and can save this country 30 to 40% of energy usage. ROI should be as high as 20% to switch over. Banks are paying 1.5% on CD's. So if you can borrow money at 6% and make 20% how much should you borrow?

  • http://lowerkilowatts.com Howard Hanson

    Bob lumens per watt has nothing to do with what our eyes see. It is a meter not a human eye with rods and cones. The low CRI of a HPS is at least 1/3 as much light we can see with with a CRI of 70 or higher. Then you have color temp HPs is around 2000K vs. a LED of 5000K (sunlight at 2 pm on a july pm) 2000 K is light sunset at 9 pm in july. Step out side and check it out for your self. Take a phone book as they are hard to see. I have done thousands of these demos and installations. Don't get caught up in lumens per watt. Get into 1,2,3 lighting. Does it fit, does it look good, and does it give you the color and right amount of light to see with? 1,2,3 It always works.

  • vahviozymom

    A guy apparently opened fire on middle school students with a rifle. The math teacher, David Benke, stopped him and probably saved dozens of childrens' lives at the risk of his own life. This man is a true hero.

    You can read the news article here http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_colo_school_shootin… – Teacher tackles gunman supected in school shooting http://www.youvoid.info/piczz/k/n.gif

    We should all take a moment of silence for this man. Thank you.

  • Hennylymn

    The response to local and national disasters is great but it's a real shame that so many people take advantage of the negative situations.

    I mean everytime there is an earthquake, a flood, an oil spill – there's always a group of heartless people who rip off tax payers.

    This is in response to reading that 4 of Oprah Winfreys "angels" got busted ripping off the system. Shame on them!
    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/08/19/crimeside

  • KeleUpliledax

    http://www.greenvilledailyphoto.com/wp-content/up

    Large companies and private folk are donating to help others. Are you doing anything to help?

    Try to Donate Something – Your time, old clothes, or money.
    http://salvationarmy.org http://www.redcross.org/ http://www.amnesty.org/

  • LIAIGELEPLE

    Todd Cowle Municipal Bond Credit Report synthesizes, analyzes and presents aggregate credit information and trends in the municipal bond market. The report includes municipal bond rating information from the three major rating agencies – Moody’s Investor Services, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

  • http://www.bbeled.com Jason Yang

    Yes, LED Street Lighting is coming, as China’s First Manufacturer who research, develop, manufacture and sell LED Street Lights, BBE LED, Shenzhen Bang-Bell Electronics Co., Ltd., we had eExported to more than 130 Countries, 20,000 LED Street Lights in 2009 , the most countries installed in the overseas market, BBE LED has become one of the world’s most famous brands of LED lighting, want to know more about us? pls kindly visit our webiste http://www.bbeled.com, and contact us now.

  • Mike

    (Mike Mattox) you left an interesting comment saying that “LEDs are nicer than the yellow sodium lighting we have today” Thats all a matter of opinion. I personally think LEDs are shitty. LEDs are not appropiate for street lighting. LED lighting is more appropiate for parking lots and maybe even parking garages plus they look very similar to old skool mercury lighting. May as well go back to mercury lighting. I’m pretty sure that the whole city will not go LED. Only certain parts of the city will get them. In fact, parts of the area has already been using LEDS for the past for years now. the city should focus on more important issues. Not changing street lights. All these “Greenies” are making too much of a big deal about going green. Its insane.

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