Gallery: Ann Arbor Lighting Up With 100% LEDs!


We haven’t been giving Ann Arbor, Michigan enough attention and the city deserves it! Last year Ann Arbor joined forces with LED manufacturer Cree, Inc, on an ever-expanding citywide LED initiative to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With a recent retrofit contract signed with Lumecon, Ann Arbor is on its way to being the first U.S. city to light up its downtown with 100% LED technology!

The city strung its holiday cheer with about 114,000 LED lights and plans to convert all of its downtown public lighting starting with more than 1,000 LED streetlights. The effort is aligned with other North American cities like Raleigh, N.C., and Toronto, which have both started similar energy-saving efforts.

When Ann Arbor reaches its ambitious goal, city officials expect to see energy use for public lighting cut in half and a reduction of 2,425 tons CO2 annually. The city also expects a short payback of 3.8 years on its investment, which was funded in part with a $630,000 grant from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.

A pilot program on one city block with 25 LED lights helped bring the LED idea from theory to application with three years of research on how the technology saves the city about 50% on energy and maintenance costs. Based on their research, Ann Arbor city officials project an annual savings of over $100,000 on just the first 1,000 retrofits alone. The city plans to complete the conversion to LED over the next two years.

+ City of Ann Arbor

+ Lumecon
Via Sustainable Facility


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  1. tony myers March 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve switched my home lights from fluorescent to led and have seen a reduction in my electric bill of 40%. Electric comsumption reduced by 30%. The bulbs last much longer and are dimmable.

  2. premiumalex May 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    RE: Patrick Wambold and other people who don’t know much about LEDs:

    Incandescent lamps are rated at 15-20 lumens per watt (lm/W) and halogens are rated at 17 lm/W, which is pretty atrocious (about 2% efficient). High-pressure sodium and HID are the best, with 100 lm/W. Fluorescent bulbs are also really good, at 60-100 lm/w.

    LEDs are at approx. 60-90 lm/W, but are steadily improving in efficiency and have bulb lifetimes over twice the length of other technologies. This results in less maintenance to repair the bulbs, which means less bulb purchases and production costs, less gas for the trucks to replace them, etc. They’re also the only directional light on the list, so we can use LEDs with less power because they only need to light the area we want them to.

  3. carter September 30, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Relume Technologies of Oxford, MI is the manufacturer.

  4. AZ August 4, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Its really worth to have a visit there… i wish i could do it soon.

  5. MiLife MiTimes : Ann Ar... April 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    […] A2 isn’t just switching a few of its streetlights; according to, the home of the University of Michigan is “on its way to becoming the first U.S. city to […]

  6. Alex January 31, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    LED is the way to go. If we as a country continue to waste energy and pollute our environment with CO2 because of our use of inefficient, wasteful lighting, we will not be here to gaze at the stars. Ann Arbor should be commended for taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. We as a whole should strive to be more like Ann Arbor in our own lives.

  7. Pablito January 29, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    fluorescent ligths are evil. if you need it explained to you you’ll never get it

  8. Troy January 28, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Ah, People need to do some research before bench-discussing(I can’t use benchracing) LED technology, and don’t just judge by the pictures in this thread. One of the key benefits of LED technology is that it is directional (light path) therefore reducing to eliminating light pollution in the future. Looking at the street globes in the pic and not knowing how Peter engineered and what the city/town engineers, requested in the design, I will have to check them out when I get back to MI. in March. I can only assume why the light path was designed to escape vertically.

    As far as disposing LED lights, there is no mercury or any caustic materials (solid state technology).
    Basically, when you buy led replacement bulbs for your household, when you sell your house, take them with you to your next residence. Many have a service life baseline of 50,000 hrs, which is like keeping on for 7 years without ever turning them off, many will last much longer!

    Yes, the first generations of LEDs(a while ago) used many many individual leds which looks like a cluster (30 and more for one bulb). This stuff is still sold today and there is A LOT of LED JUNK out in the market, so buyer BeWare! Though, not all multi diodes or Led’s are bad bulbs or considered junk. You have to be careful what and where you buy because there is A LOT OF BAD LED stuff out there. I have seen bad batches of different types.

    The new technology, some 1 watt high power 1 LED (not high consumption) diodes are insane how powerful they are. I have 1 watt #194 auto bulbs(meaning they consume 1 watt, they emit much more than 1 watt) in my parking lights in my car that are brighter than my fog lights which are 55W. For instance, if you have track lighting in your house and know how hot they get and how much heat they generate(usually a MR16), you can replace these halogen MR16 bulbs with a 1 watt/ 1 LED bulb or even a 3 watt/ 3 LED MR16 which also comes in different colors like, cool white or warm white. These can be taken out with your hands even if they have been on all day(they do get warm though nothing like halogen),

    It will be pointless to get into all the dynamics and am not here to convice, make, force people to listen to my words.
    All I ask is do some accurate research and try and test them yourself then make your own decision. I think you will find the proof is clear.

    Virtually everything will be replaced with LED technology in the near future, until a new technolgy is discovered or invented which will replace LED.

  9. Eric January 28, 2008 at 11:43 am

    @ Ted

    Good point, except for the part about mercury. Compared with thermometers, and watch batteries, fluorescent lamps have tiny amounts of mercury. LEDs are great for exit signs and x-mas tree lighting, but for illumination, only some can compare with CFLs–linear fluorescents are still the most efficient way of providing ambient lighting.

  10. Save the Night Sky January 28, 2008 at 1:29 am

    They are wasting at least half the light by shooting it into the sky. It also has a serious impact on astronomy and people who just like to see, you know, stars and stuff. Check out the International Dark-Sky Association here: They have a list of IDA-approved fixtures that reduce light pollution.

    Love the power savings Ann Arbor, let’s see if we can save another 40% by shooting the light downwards.


  11. Patrick Wambold January 28, 2008 at 12:42 am

    LED is not a very efficient way to convert power into energy, although it lasts longer and creates less heat, the efficancy is only at maybe 40%, pretty bad actually, it takes so many more LEDs to light the same area as an incandescent or an HMI or an arc lamp. flourescents are still the best however they contain large amounts of mercury, on of the most deadly substances we can come up with.
    Lots of luck!

  12. r r January 27, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    madison wi has some LED traffic lights and they suck in winter because they dont produce heat and therefore don’t melt any snow that covers them up in winter. Tha’ts bad. bad.

  13. dianejwright January 27, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Cool. Anyone know what happens to the bulbs that are removed? Where do they go?

  14. Scott January 27, 2008 at 5:16 am


  15. Scott January 27, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Ann Arbor is a great city, I got to University of Michigan and I love it here

  16. Me January 27, 2008 at 3:22 am

    Damn hippies!

  17. Hot sauce dude January 27, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Nice, can’t wait until we can buy leds for our homes.

  18. rakesh January 27, 2008 at 12:01 am

    I love to visit this place within my lifetime

  19. iwanttoseesomegoddamnstars January 26, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Wow, the LIGHT POLLUTION they emit is absolutely HORRIBLE. Not only do they emit bright multispectral light that you can’t FILTER OUT, they direct it not into the STREET, but into THE SKY.

    Will I ever be able to see the stars again?

  20. Jordan January 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    About time!
    I’m using Cree LED lights in a lot of my rooms for lighting and they work pretty well. They’re expensive, but lighting a room with less than 10watts is impressive

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