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(April 30, 2015) – Portland’s largest ever energy-efficiency project is happening citywide with the installation of energy-saving LED street lights in each neighborhood, and an interactive map allows the public to track real-time progress on their street.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation crews are converting 45,000 of the City’s 55,000 street lights to environmentally-friendly LED (light-emitting diode) lights, a process that is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
The map and program may be found at http://bit.ly/PDXLED. Green dots show lights that have been installed; red indicates lights that will be converted. The map also allows the public to send in questions and feedback on each street light.
The new LED street lights are easily identifiable: they cast a crisp light similar to moonlight, unlike the yellow-tinged light from the high-pressure sodium bulbs they replace. The new LEDs bring numerous benefits: they use half the energy of the high-pressure sodium bulbs and are expected to last four times longer, or up to 20 years. That translates to a $1.5 million annual savings in energy and maintenance, and a reduction of about 10,500 tons of carbon pollution each year.
“We can all be proud of the savings that the new LED street lights bring to each neighborhood,” said Commissioner Steve Novick. “This is a program that saves money, protects our environment and improves reliability by providing street lights that last longer and burn out less often.”
“The new streetlights deliver benefits to each neighborhood, to our city as a whole and to our efforts to address climate change,” said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat. “We are making a difference street by street and light by light.”
Cities around the world are switching to LED lights as a way to save both money and energy, including Portland’s neighbors to the north in Seattle and nearby in Gresham, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Clackamas County and Milwaukie.
The new lights provide the same coverage to illuminate city streets as the old fixtures. They also cut down on light pollution by projecting more light downward and less upward, making it easier for people to star gaze.
The final environmental benefit? The City is recycling the old high pressure sodium bulbs.
City Council unanimously passed an ordinance in December 2012 dedicating $18.5 million to the conversion project from a general obligation bond. Conversions began in August and once the project is complete, about December 2016, the City can expect to save $1.5 million a year in maintenance and energy costs. At that rate, the project will pay for itself in eight years, with future years’ savings providing funds for other transportation projects.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation.