Local News

Raleigh Leaders Plan Test of LED Lighting

Posted February 12, 2007 4:46 p.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2007 7:10 p.m. EST

— 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.