New York Switching To LED Streetlights

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is continuing his aggressive efforts to make New York City more environmentally friendly by switching all of the city’s streetlights to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, replacing its high-pressure sodium lights, which are less efficient and have shorter life spans. The project was announced at a news conference in Brooklyn on October 24, where Bloomberg and Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, showed off the knew “cobra-headed” streetlights.

The program is expected to save the city $14 million annually in electricity costs and maintenance. LED bulbs can last up to 20 years, more than three times the lifespan of a typical sodium light. The project has a budget of $76.5 million, meaning that it will pay for itself within a 6-year period.

Ms. Sadik-Khan told reporters that the lights will produce a better quality of illumination than the amber, yellowish glow of the bulbs they are replacing.

“People tend to like them,” she told The New York Times. “It’s clear. It’s bright. It really does a good job in providing fresher light.”

The project received funding through New York’s Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency initiative (ACE), which provides financing for clean technology and efficiency projects through a fast-tracked, streamlined bidding process. Such programs are common for environmental efforts, as litigation from interest groups can often bog down the procurement process for municipal improvement projects. While it’s important that such efforts adversely effect as few citizens as possible, there are times when green business ideas such as solar and wind installations are indefinitely suspended due to endless lawsuits and complaints from parties with frivolous claims.

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