Mark Boyer

Chicago to Replace Old Yellow Streetlights With Energy-Efficient Lamps

by , 08/24/11

Chicago, streetlights, energy efficient lights, LED lights, light pollution, Chicago transportation, metal-halide lights

Fly into either of Chicago’s major airports at night and you’ll be greeted by the sight of a glowing grid with neat rows of yellow-orange streetlights stretching as far as the eye can see. The grid isn’t going anywhere, but the yellow glow that hovers over the city will soon be a thing of the past. Crews have already set to work installing new ceramic metal-halide lights, which are not only more energy efficient, but produce less light pollution, and generally look more natural and pleasing to the eye.

Chicago, Lake Shore Drive, yellow streetlights, view from Hanckock Center, Chicago at night, Lake Michigan

Image: orijinal

The main reason that Chicago is upgrading its streetlights is to save money; metal-halide lights are much more energy efficient than the existing sodium vapor lamps, and they have a lifespan that’s two to three years longer. The city estimates that it will save $40 to $70 per light, which will add up to about $1.8 million in savings per year. The energy savings will also decrease the city’s carbon emissions by 15,000 metric tons per year, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

In addition to streetlamps, Chicago is planning to replace 1,000 traditional traffic signals with new LED lights, which are safer and more energy efficient. Crews have already started installing the whiter, brighter metal halide lights along Lake Shore Drive and along the city’s 300 miles of alleys. Eventually, they plan to replace them all.

“If you’ve seen Chicago from the sky, you’ve seen the orange glow,” CDOT spokesman Brian Steele told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It won’t be that way anymore.”

Via The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times

Lead Photo © Genista

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2 Comments

  1. Colonial1 May 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    If traffic signals can be LED-illuminated, then why not utilize the technology to illuminate the roadways and sidewalks? It’s good energy-saving technology, both LED and neon. Both are cool to the touch and burnout is almost nil.. plus they’re totally eco-friendly and have absolutely no emissions….

  2. msyin August 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    So, how many other big cities are also going to follow their example? We have new LED signals now and they really do make a difference and I am pretty sure they are saving ATL money. Becoming more energy efficient can be as easy as changing a “light bulb”.

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