Press Releases

Press Release #09-043

Contact: Seth Solomonow/Nicole Garcia, DOT: (212) 839-4850 Tom Howard-Vyse, The Climate Group: +44 (0)207 960 2991

DOT Commissioner Unveils Central Park And FDR Drive LED Lights As Part Of Global Pilot Program To Improve Energy Efficiency

City leads the way as part of a global program to test the environmental, performance and cost benefits of greener lighting options

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Director of the Mayor’s Office for Long-term Planning and Sustainability Rohit T. Aggarwala today joined The Climate Group and the Central Park Conservancy to unveil lampposts in Central Park equipped with newly installed energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs in order to assess their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and provide quality lighting. The installation is the first in The Climate Group’s global LightSavers program, an initiative designed to test and measure LED-technology in real-world, urban settings. The installations include 13 LED fixtures in Central Park from East 67th Street to East 72nd Street and 24 along the FDR Drive’s center median between 18th and 24th Streets. This partnership will help meet the goals outlined in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC sustainability agenda, which calls for a 30% reduction in Citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a 30% reduction in municipal government’s emissions by 2017, and the energy-reducing initiatives called for in DOT’s strategic plan. It also aligns with DOT’s goal to create and maintain world-class streets by exploring enhanced lighting to improve street safety and mobility for pedestrians and motorists while increase evening economic and community activity.

"Energy-efficient lighting is a common-sense approach to tackling global climate change, and New York continues to lead the way as an internationally recognized leader in sustainability," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "With some 300,000 streetlights across the five boroughs, lighting is a vital piece of our City’s infrastructure, and by pioneering energy-saving technology we can enhance our world-class streetscapes at the same time that we engineer a greener, greater New York."

The City is the first to launch a pilot project under the global LightSavers program, which was established by the City of Toronto in 2008 and is now led by The Climate Group. Future pilots are anticipated across other major cities in the U.S., China, Europe, Canada and Australia. The program also builds on DOT's drive to explore and apply technology that produces greater energy-efficiency savings. A new report, Green Light: Sustainable Street Lighting for NYC, summarizes the agency's past, current and future efforts to create a greener, greater New York City.

"Parks & Recreation is proud to be a part of DOT's latest effort to make New York a more sustainable city," said Commissioner Benepe. "This initiative will help to reduce our carbon footprint, as well as our electric bill. It is another example of the ways in which City agencies can work together to improve quality of life and ensure a better future for New Yorkers."

"Achieving a greener, greater New York will require all City agencies and all New Yorkers to take those steps where they can cost-effectively improve efficiency and the environment in the areas they control," said Director Aggarwala. "This effort on LED streetlights builds on DOT's leadership in bicycle access, pedestrian spaces and bus rapid transit that has done so much to further PlaNYC goals and make New York City a global example of a sustainable city."

DOT operates the largest municipal street-lighting system in the country with 262,000 lights on City streets, bridges and underpasses, 12,000 in parks and 26,000 on highways. DOT also works with communities to install decorative fixtures to enhance the streetscapes of historic and specialized districts Citywide.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a partner in this initiative through its GATEWAY program, estimates that LED lighting can reduce energy costs by as much as 60%. In contrast to high-pressure sodium lights (HPS)—a standard for municipal street lighting worldwide—LEDs also generate a crisper, whiter light that allows people to see more clearly at night. Further, individual LEDs have a lifespan of 50,000-70,000 hours, which is up to three times longer than standard lights, allowing for increased savings associated with replacement costs. DOT will gather data on the lifespan, power consumption and lighting performance of nine LED products over a 12-month testing period. A full evaluation of these demonstrations as well as the global pilots will be available through The Climate Group following the testing period. The fixtures are being provided at no cost to the City.

"The opportunity to reduce electricity use across the nation by implementing advanced street and outdoor area illumination technologies like solid-state lighting is tremendous," said James Brodrick, DOE's Lighting Program Manager. "The deliberate, measured process being undertaken by the New York City Department of Transportation is exactly the approach we recommend for other cities considering similar lighting evaluation efforts. LED products are still in a relatively early stage of commercialization, so conscientious and thorough evaluation efforts such as these are essential to providing invaluable field experience and a current status check on product cost and energy performance."

"We are proud to partner with the City of New York on these groundbreaking new LED pilot projects," said Dasha Rettew, head of The Climate Group's U.S. Cities & Technology Program. "By working with the world's largest cities, we are launching a series of outdoor LED pilot tests that will unlock critical data, independent from manufacturers, to demonstrate the real-world return on investment, performance and carbon saving benefits of this transformative and scalable clean technology."

For the past decade the agency has made strides and pioneered efforts globally and nationally in applying energy-efficient lighting solutions to the streets of New York. The City was the first large American city to use LED traffic signals, converting fixtures at nearly all of the more than 12,000 signalized intersections Citywide and producing an annual energy savings of 81%. It also began several projects to replace higher-wattage HPS and metal-halide units at several locations with more energy efficient HPS and LED fixtures. Examples include a pilot of 63-LED fixtures along Queens Boulevard and the testing of LED and induction luminaires on necklace lights of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Upcoming LED pilot projects include additional studies along the FDR Drive and the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. More recently, DOT along with 11 City agencies released the Street Design Manual, a series of guidelines that sets new environmental standards while allowing design flexibility for street lighting applications, materials and installation.

For more information, visit Details about The Climate Group can be found at To find information about DOE’s GATEWAY program, check out