The city is trying out a new type of light bulb in street lights and traffic signals in an effort to be more environmentally friendly and save thousands of dollars each year. A web page and e-mail address has been set up to gauge citizens’ reaction to the new lights.
Lights, called light emitting diodes or LEDs, use less power, are low-maintenance, and provide a brighter, more vivid display. The city currently owns 440 decorative streetlights equipped with 150-watt bulbs that cost over $34,000 per year to operate. Traffic Engineering has installed 40-watt LED units in 11 decorative lights along the 100 block of North Third Street. Citizens can provide feedback on new LED lights by sending an email to email@example.com
. If this trial works as expected, additional fixtures will be replaced over the next few years.
Over the past two years, the city has also been switching traffic signal displays from 115-watt incandescent bulbs to 20-watt LEDs. The switchover reduced traffic signal power consumption by about 75%, saving the City and NCDOT combined about $7,000 annually.
LED lights have been around since the 1960s and are used in dozens of products, including digital clocks and light up watches. LED lights use half the energy (or less) and last longer than conventional bulbs. For more information on LED lights, check out this page on the city’s website: http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/LEDLightTesting/tabid/280/default.aspx
In addition to improving traffic safety and saving money, the LED program also complements the City’s 2006 endorsement of the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Among other things, the agreement encourages cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.