Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Los Angeles’ Switch to LED Street Lights: Promoting Change

Image Source: http://www.sandiegolovesgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/image14-320x202.jpg
 The so-called “green” revolution has been on full swing as of late, as a lot of cities are finding ways to become energy efficient. One of them is the switch to LED street lights, which has been a project by large and small California cities. Last year, it was the City of Los Angeles’ turn, and it successfully completed its four-year project of installing light-emitting diode (LED) street light fixtures to replace the yellow-hued high-density discharge (HID) street lights. The said endeavor was considered the largest in the world, with more than 140,000 street lights currently now fixed with LED lights.

Before the project was started, street lighting in Los Angeles accounted for nearly 40 percent of the whole city’s bill on electricity. With the LED fixtures installed, it is estimated that at least $7 million is saved on electricity, with another $2.5 million saved in avoiding the cost of maintenance every year. In addition, the LED fixtures only consume around 63 percent less electricity than the replaced HIDs, making them last longer.

While the move to switch to LEDs is met with positive response among the citizens of Los Angeles and proponents of energy efficiency, it is believed that this would change the city’s image as seen in the movies. Apparently, Dave Kendricken argued in his piece for No Film School that the visual representation of Los Angeles at night will drastically change how the city is seen in movies. He added that “Hollywood will never look the same,” referring to the yellow-hued imagery of the city at night prior to the switch to LEDs. Click here for the Kendricken article.

Meanwhile, it is also worth mentioning how LED streetlights in Los Angeles can greatly affect nighttime driving. According to a Los Angeles car accident attorney, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), driving at night accounts for about a fourth of all traffic in the U.S. However, about one-half of car accidents that result in deaths occur after dark.

Fortunately, LEDs have been seen as an improvement from the HIDs previously installed in streetlights as far as visibility improvement is concerned. Ed Ebrahimian (Read More), the director of the city’s Bureau of Street Lighting, was quoted in this Forbes.com article as saying that the white light emitted by the LEDs increases lighting levels, improving the ability of residents to see at night. With LED headlights gaining traction in today’s motoring, it is therefore safe to say that LED streetlights do have a positive effect on how motorists can see the road at night.



  1. LED lights provide more natural light which is harder for some people to fall asleep in. The truck industry will be greatly benefited by something like this. We will also save money on lost lives.