The City of Edmonton will be changing 46,000 streetlights to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) between 2020 and 2022. The goal is to have 103,000 out 126,000 streetlights, or 82%, of Edmonton’s streetlight system operating as LEDs by the end of this conversion project.
LEDs last longer and use less energy than most other lighting technology on the market, allowing the City to reduce operating costs and its environmental impact at the same time. By converting 82% of streetlights to LED by 2022, the City of Edmonton will:
- Save taxpayers $1.2 million per year in reduced power and maintenance costs
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions annually by 5,500 tonnes
- Reduce light pollution and intrusion on private property thanks to the technology's ability to limit light dispersal through adjustments, as covered by City Policy C576 – Light Efficient Community Policy
What We Have Done
From 2011 to 2019, the City changed 53,000 street lights from high pressure sodium (HPS) technology to LED through the following programs:
- Neighbourhood and Arterial Rehabilitation - Entire street light systems were replaced during complete reconstruction of neighbourhoods and arterial roads
- LED Retrofit Program - Older street lights with HPS technology near the end of their lifespan were converted to LEDs in neighbourhoods and arterial roads not scheduled for reconstruction
LED vs High Pressure Sodium Lights
Currently, about 55,000 streetlights owned and maintained by the City operate using high pressure sodium (HPS) technology. The lights illuminate when an electric charge is passed through the chemical sodium. For a time, they were the most efficient light available for cost and energy savings and so were used extensively by the City.
LEDs are semiconductor devices that emit light when an electric current passes through them. Advances in LEDs enable them to last four times longer than HPS lights while using at least 35% less energy. Maintenance reporting found HPS lights had an annual failure rate of 7% while LEDs had an annual failure rate of 0.035%. Because of these findings, converting more lights from HPS to LED makes sense from both an operational and financial perspective.