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Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Khan Announce All 250,000 Street Lights in New York City Will Be Replaced With Energy-Efficient LEDs by 2017, Reducing Energy Consumption and Cost

October 24, 2013

Largest LED Retrofit in the Country, Replacing All City Street Lights Expected to Deliver at Least $14 Million in Savings Annually

Another Step Towards PlaNYC Goal of Reducing City Government’s Carbon Footprint by 30 Percent by 2017

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced all 250,000 standard street light fixtures in New York City will be replaced with energy-efficient, light-emitting diodes (LED) by 2017, reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs. The Administration’s comprehensive, long-term sustainability program – PlaNYC – aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from City government operations 30 percent by 2017 and the LED replacements will help towards achieving that goal. Additionally, the LED replacement plan will build on the Department of Transportation’s strategic plan, which outlines steps to green transportation operations, while improving efficiency and reducing costs. The project is the first to receive funding through the Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency initiative or “ACE,” a $100 million competitive program that the Department of Citywide Administrative Services launched this fall to expedite projects undertaken by City agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. LEDs already have been installed in street lights along key corridors, most recently for Eastern Parkway’s pedestrian lights between Grand Army Plaza and Ralph Avenue in Brooklyn, on Manhattan’s FDR Drive, along Central Park’s pedestrian paths and on the “necklace” lights that adorn the cables of East River Bridges. Compared to the current standard high-pressure sodium lights currently on streets, which last six years, LEDs can last up to 20 years before needing replacement, potentially producing up to an 80 percent savings on maintenance. All together, the 250,000 new LED streetlights are expected to be the largest LED retrofit in the country and save approximately $6 million in energy and $8 million in maintenance a year for a total of $14 million in longer-lasting, more efficient, greener lighting. The Mayor and Commissioner made the announcement on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, where the already completed replacement of the pedestrian fixtures alone is expected to save more than $70,000 and nearly 248,000 KWH a year.

“With roughly a quarter-million street lights in our City, upgrading to more energy efficient lights is a large and necessary feat,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “It will save taxpayers millions of dollars, move us closer to achieving our ambitious sustainability goals, and help us to continue reducing City government’s day-to-day costs and improving its operations.”

“Using LEDs for street lighting is more than just a bright idea, it’s a necessity for sustainable cities to operate more efficiently while also delivering clearer, better quality light for New Yorkers,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “From our parks to our bridges and to our streets and highways, these 250,000 lights will brighten New York City’s streetscapes for generations to come.”

“I commend Mayor Bloomberg and my colleagues at DOT for moving forward with these new, more energy-efficient LED streetlights. The newly-reconstructed Eastern Parkway is a great location to roll out this new technology. This project, which DDC completed earlier this year, brought new median plazas, bike and pedestrian paths, water and sewer mains, and landscaping to one of Brooklyn’s most well-traveled roadways,” said David J. Burney, FAIA, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

“DCAS is proud to support DOT’s ambitious street-lighting retrofit program, as part of its new Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency program or ‘ACE’ – providing $100 million for quick energy efficiency and clean heat retrofits, $10 million of which will go towards this LED street-lighting project,” said DCAS Commissioner Edna Wells-Handy. “The ACE Program overall is expected to contribute 5 percent of the City governments overall 30 percent reduction by 2017.” The first of three phases to replace the standard “cobra-head” high-pressure sodium street lights, which will upgrade 80,000 at a time across the five boroughs, is expected to be completed in December 2015 with the final phase expected to be completed by 2017. Following the replacement of roadway lighting, decorative fixtures in the city’s business and commercial districts will be addressed. This builds on DOT’s earlier efforts to green its lighting operations when the agency first began adding LEDs along highways in 2011. This work included more than 5,500 lights in underpasses along the FDR Drive as well as upcoming work to replace more than 24,389 lights along all major corridors such as Belt Parkway, Grand Central Parkway, Cross Bronx Expressway and other highways. This effort to address major corridors is expected to save $1.3 million on maintenance and $1.2 million on energy.

As part of the LED pilot initiative, the agency also completed the replacement of all the pedestrian lights in Central Park. The agency is now working towards installing LEDs in the cobra-head fixtures throughout the remainder of the park and interior and surrounding roadways. That project is expected to begin this December along with the remainder of the 1,200 luminaires along the FDR Drive. The earlier LED initiative along Eastern Parkway, along with upgrades to the Central Park pedestrian path lighting, were paid with $548,000 from the Mayor’s Energy Fund, and is estimated to produce up to 62 percent in energy savings.

The most recent lighting upgrades along Eastern Parkway are a capstone to the $22.2 million reconstruction project from Grand Army Plaza to Washington Avenue, which replaced water mains and sewers while rebuilding the median plaza with attractive benches, landscaping and a bike and pedestrian path that enhance safety and create a world-class, vibrant streetscape connecting Crown Heights with a newly redesigned Grand Army Plaza, the Brooklyn Public Library and Prospect Park. The capital project now features 23,000 square yards of DOT’s Complete Street treatment, with a new, wider median that includes 29 new park LED lights, 40 benches, landscaping and 11 trash receptacles. Led by the City’s Department of Design and Construction, the project delivered 52,000 square feet of new sidewalk pavers, 8,100 linear feet of granite and 94 linear feet of concrete curb, a two-way bicycle lane, 44 ADA compliant pedestrian ramps, catch basins and sewers. Further, DOT replaced 625 fixtures along Eastern Parkway, and most recently replaced LEDs in 483 luminaires along the corridor.

In 2009, DOT partnered with the Climate Group and the U.S. DOE conducted two separate studies to collect data on the performance of LED fixtures on the FDR Drive and Central Park as part of a global study to quantify the benefits for cities to use LED lights. The tests measured factors such as illumination, color and energy consumption, among others. Both replacement trials showed significant energy savings, up to 50 percent and 83 percent, respectively. DOT expanded the use of LEDs with the full-scale deployment to Central Park, the East River bridges, Eastern Parkway and the under-deck of Manhattan’s FDR Drive. To date, all of the 224 necklace lights on the Williamsburg Bridge are now LED-equipped, as are the 218 lights on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Currently work is underway to upgrade the 168 lights on the Manhattan Bridge with more energy-efficient LEDs and the final LED installations for the Brooklyn Bridge will be finalized following the completion of the current rehabilitation project.

For the past decade, the agency has pioneered the application of energy-efficient lighting to both optimize and green its operations. New York City was the first large American city to use LED traffic signals, converting fixtures at all of the 12,700 signalized intersections citywide and producing an annual energy savings of 81 percent.

Contact: Marc La Vorgna / Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958

Seth Solomonow/Nicole Garcia (212) 839-4850