U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Building Technologies Office – Information Resources

Text-Alternative Version: The City of Los Angeles LED Streetlight Program

Following is a text version of a video about the City of Los Angeles LED streetlight program.

Ed Ebrahimian, Director, Bureau of Street Lighting, City of Los Angeles: We've installed LED fixtures throughout the city. We are realizing about 63% in energy savings today cumulative of all the installations that we have in the city. Our LED program, we've retrofitted 150,000 streetlights to LED throughout the city. We've touched more than 2 million lives with our work.

LED costs

The price of the LEDs has been reduced tremendously since we started. When we put the program together about five years ago, the price was about $700 a fixture and then when we started our program, the price dropped down to $400. Now we are purchasing fixtures for our major street installations for about $300 and for local streets, we're paying about $250. That has been achieved by the new technologies where they cluster LEDs together and reduce the cost of the fixture. Also, lumen efficacy that the fixtures are realizing today: we put in our program 40% efficiency and now we are realizing 63%. Obviously what we save is what pays back the loan so that savings will pay back the loan a little bit faster.

Impact on public safety

Most of the comments we've received, especially from our police department, have been really fantastic. Most of the residents and the businesses in commercial areas love the white glow of the LED light. We hear that people feel a lot safer with the white light as opposed to the old technology HID lights. We approached our police department and obtained some nighttime crime data for burglary and theft. By just looking at those numbers, we've seen a major 10.5% reduction in crimes. Now, we know the police department plays a big role in this but I think lighting plays a big role also, so I think we will have much more solid numbers as we go forward, as we change all the lights in the city to LED and then compare it to 2008-2009 numbers.

Pursuing the latest LED technology

The main purpose of our installations, which is about 54,000, is to let us know if the fixtures are working or not. So, we decided to deploy remote monitoring units. Those units are also giving us the wattage that is being consumed on the fixtures, so we use that information for our billing purposes. The last year-and-a-half, two years, we haven't installed any remote monitoring units on the fixtures that we've replaced. We are evaluating different manufacturers for what improvements we can find. Most of the fixtures that we've installed since then are dimmable drivers, so we wanted to make sure that these remote monitoring units will be able to control the light levels and maybe dim the lights if we need to dim them. I think the pricing really is the key here for a lot of municipalities, a lot of small cities, a lot of utility companies, to start deploying the new LED technologies.

The role of the Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium

When we started our program, there were no specifications and we were looking at different manufacturers' better practices. We basically put those together as our specifications and started revising them as we were going forward. But now that we have the Municipal Street Lighting Consortium in place, they have been forming committees, they have been focused on creating new specifications, that really are being used throughout the country. The seminars that they've scheduled, the meetings that they've had, the webinars that they've had, have made a huge difference for a lot of small municipalities and utility companies, as far as resources and providing information that otherwise it was very difficult for them to obtain.

The Los Angeles LED conversion in context

The city of Los Angeles is the second largest municipal street lighting system in the whole country. We realized we are going to play a big role so we pushed the envelope with the manufacturers, and using different specifications and increasing the level of our requirements from the manufacturers I think has played a big role. When I started 25 years ago frankly the field was very stagnant and it's been very exciting, the last few years, and I think it continues right now with all the interest that is out there. What has happened with the city of Los Angeles I think is the tip of an iceberg. I think in the very near future, as the prices of the LED fixtures get reduced, we are going to see a major, major wave of retrofits. We are very excited with what we're doing. We are trailblazers, we fully realize that, but at the same time we've been very careful with our entire process and evaluation. We wanted to make sure we delivered what we're supposed to deliver to the citizens of the city of Los Angeles and are also realizing that we play a big role in this new technology.