Soon, the lit-up skyline will be much whiter because all 250,000 street lights are being switched to LEDs in the biggest retrofit project in the nation.
The switch-over is part of PlaNYC, the city’s climate change mitigation plan. PlaNYC requires the city to cut emissions from government operations 30% by 2017.
Started in 2009 as a pilot, the retrofit is now rolling out across NYC with a completion date of 2017. LEDs already light key corridors, such as FDR Drive – the highway along its east side – and paths that wind through Central Park. They even adorn the city’s bridges.
The $76.5 million project is expected to save $6 million a year in energy costs and $8 million a year on maintenance costs (LEDs last for up to 20 years).
The Empire State Building“s lights are also LEDs:
It is the first project to receive funding from the city’s ACE Program (Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency Initiative). The $100 million competitive program launched this fall to expedite government projects that cutgreenhouse gas emissions. It funds programs that can be quickly implemented on efficiency and clean heating. It awarded $10 million toward the lighting retrofit.
“Using LEDs for street lighting is more than just a bright idea, it’s a necessity for sustainable cities to operate more efficiently while also delivering clearer, better quality light for New Yorkers,” says Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Khan.