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

Building Technologies Office – Information Resources

Text-Alternative Version: Keynote Video from Street and Area Lighting Conference

Following is a text version of Jim Brodrick's keynote video from the recent Street and Area Lighting Conference.

Narrator: The nation is focusing on energy efficiency at a time when municipal budgets are tightening. As city officials face increasing pressure to find energy solutions, LEDs in street and area lighting applications offer the prospect of significant long-term savings while helping to overcome the limitations of older lighting technologies.

Michael Barber, Lighting Program Manager, City of Anchorage, Alaska: Anchorage decided to explore LED lighting initially because of cost savings, energy and maintenance, as well as carbon reduction. Alaska's on the frontlines, as we say, of climate change.

Scott Wentworth, Energy Engineer, City of Oakland, California: We've got high maintenance costs and high operating costs. On the energy side, we spend $3 million a year just on street lighting energy alone for 35,000 streetlights.

Dan Weinheimer, Administrative Analyst, City of San Marcos, California: A cheaper source of electricity, something that would be able to help us in crime reduction and something that would last longer and help us with maintenance.

Ralph Williams, Senior Engineer, Walmart Stores Inc.: Site lighting is one of the first things a customer sees when they come to our stores. It's also a high maintenance area where we can have light outages with the existing technologies.

Narrator: LED lighting is an evolving technology with new generation products introduced at a rapid rate. LED selection for street and area lighting can only be made after a thorough review of product quality, performance and proper application.

Michael Barber: If you go to the design criteria manuals, you can actually find out what is the right light level, what is the right broad-spectrum light level, what is appropriate lighting. It's a whole other way to look at luminaires. It's not just matching what was, it's trying to figure out what's correct, and to do that with a new broad spectrum lighting is absolutely appropriate and necessary to get anything done.

Scott Wentworth: Become familiar with the products in the computer models that are available, look at the product literature, tap into the information the Department of Energy is putting out there that's standardizing from one product to another and setting expectations that you can count on.

Dan Weinheimer: Test everything. You need to physically install the light. Know how it works, be able to install it yourself and actually see the light and its effectiveness in the application that you're trying to install it for.

Scott Wentworth: We actually had to go and create an analysis that said what will it take, what's the financial approach to getting products installed citywide.

Michael Barber: Procurement and financing, I mean that was really the hardest part. And so it had to do with payback periods. It was who could meet our spec but also provide us an efficient product that wasn't an arm and a leg to purchase, that had a good payback period.

Narrator: Around the country, municipalities are staging small-scale installations. This real world experience will guide others interested in exploring LED technology.

Scott Wentworth: The process that we used for getting started was to look for the kind of products that were available in the marketplace or were emerging into the marketplace. We looked at – whenever we could get a physical version of a product, open it up, see how maintainable it was, look at its characteristics on paper, figure out what the optics were supposed to do.

Michael Barber: We put up installations of lights and then we brought out local residents and had a controlled survey, where we would ask residents what they thought of different lighting, you know, what they thought of color temperature, whether they felt safer.

Ralph Williams: Our very first stores were – we do, like most people, we'd just go to one or two poles and put up LED lighting, and what we were trying to find out there was really more visual, was there a lot of glare, did it seem to have the right light levels, was the color temperature okay, that sort of thing. And once – if that worked out with the product, then we wanted to try and move to more full light type of demonstrations and tests.

Scott Wentworth: We went and put the product on the street, where we could actually light a whole street with LEDs and not have the influence of high pressure sodium nearby so that people could be in the environment and go, well, what's this like to be here. We took another street and lit it half LED and half HPS and you could stand right at the middle of that and go, what's it like on the left, what's it like on the right, and you could get a moment-by-moment impression of HPS, LED, HPS, LED.

Narrator: An ever-growing library of information covers the topic of LEDs, and partnership opportunities are expanding as new LED products enter the marketplace.

Michael Barber: What the DOE has done is incredible, with LM79 and LM80. This is really letting engineers look, you know, in a language that they understand, look at a product and say this is meeting the specs and there's some independent verification.

Ralph Williams: Developed by the members of the Retailer Energy Alliance and with the expertise of the DOE through the Pacific Northwest National Labs experts in solid state lighting technology, we were able to come up with a specification that helped the retailers feel comfortable that they were going to get a product that would last, they had a product that would perform, and that we asked the right questions and got the right information from vendors.

Michael Barber: Get some help, don't ever try to just go on to Google and find a fixture and make this work. It's hopeless.

Scott Wentworth: Talk to peers and see what's working, what's not, and then try some small-scale installations, even just a few fixtures to see how does this equipment really perform and how does it both meet expectations and raise questions that can allow opportunities to go to the next level of exploration.

Narrator: The U.S. Department of Energy, through its Gateway Demonstration Program and the new Municipal Solid State Street Lighting Consortium offers information, support and the sharing of best practices as cost-effective LED street and area lighting products become available. To learn more, visit SSL.energy.gov.