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Raleigh Leaders Plan Test of LED Lighting

Posted February 12, 2007

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— Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker has a bright idea to help cut utility bills in the city. Raleigh leaders announced Monday that the Capital City will become the first LED city.

Raleigh officials have teamed up with Cree, Inc. in Research Triangle Park to save money and help the environment. Raleigh public works employees will test and implement Cree’s Light Emitting Diode lighting components across the city.

In a pilot program late last year, LED lights were installed in a parking deck downtown. Progress Energy, the city’s primary energy provider, said that the floor equipped with LED lights used more than 40 percent less energy than the standard lighting system. Also, the quality of the lighting was greatly improved, according to Progress Energy’s research.

As part of the initiative, more Cree lighting components will be tested in other applications, such as street lights, architectural and accent lighting, and pedestrian and walkway lights, over the next 18 months. If significant energy savings are found, Raleigh will convert permanently to LED lighting.

“We are thinking by our role of testing these products, implementing those products and then publicizing the successful tests, we can help not just our community, but communities throughout the country to a better job with energy conservation,” Meeker said.

Although the LED fixtures are more expensive to install, they require less maintenance. City leaders said the lights could help make the decks safer by providing brighter lighting. They could also help the city reduce its environmental impact.

“The use of LED lighting will assist in addressing our natio’ns energy challenges and helping Raleigh and other cities develop energy-efficient infrastructure in the future,” said Cree spokesman Greg Merritt.

Meeker said he believes the city could save about $80,000 a year in parking deck utility bills. Currently, the city spends more than $4 million to power street lights, but Meeker said he hopes to find significant savings by using LED lights there as well.
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  • satin1900 Feb 15, 2007

    I heard in the news that, if the current rate of increase in power consumption continues, compared to the current rate of increase in supply, US electric companies will be unable to meet the demand in something like 20 years. As lighting accounts for about 20% of power consumption, this kind of technology could delay that shortage.

  • Slip Kid Feb 13, 2007

    Most utility companies actually want to promote energy savings because increased demand requires increase in infrastructure costs, which hurt profits more than seasonal or market growth fluctuations. Either way, we are going to pay for a comnfortable profit margin and I'd rather not include additional infrastructure costs in that bill.

  • BlarneyStone Feb 13, 2007

    Mondolab, here's an example of the cost savings: Cost of Electricity..
    60,000 hours at 10¢ per kWh for a 60W bulb=$360. for a LED equivalent bulb = $12.00

  • BlarneyStone Feb 13, 2007

    f every U.S. household replaced just one standard 60 watt bulb with a LED bulb, we could save 24,184,400,000 watts per day- that's equivelant to the power generated at some of America's Nuclear Power Plants each day.

  • ladybug467 Feb 12, 2007

    From the story above: "Progress Energy, the city’s primary energy provider, said that the floor equipped with LED lights used more than 40 percent less energy than the standard lighting system. Also, the quality of the lighting was greatly improved, according to Progress Energy’s research.

    If Progress Energy is againt this as a post suggest, then why would they help w/ the testing ? ? ?

  • notadumbredneck Feb 12, 2007

    rscarter: I've always wondered about that.. It seems like a conflict of interest when the utility company is called on to promote conservation. Obviously, their profits will increase with increased demand, so where is their incentive to promote conservation?

  • BIG YAWN Feb 12, 2007

    So if it saves energy....saves money.....we should see reduced taxes! :-)

  • rscarter2004 Feb 12, 2007

    why doesn't progressive energy promote promote LEDs if it saves energy?

  • notadumbredneck Feb 12, 2007

    Just wondering what the payback time is in terms of cost savings, as well as net energy savings.

  • dhamma Feb 12, 2007

    Excellent idea.