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Orlando Sentinel: City brightens with switch to 14,000 LED lights

LED_street_lights_vs_Sodium_before_and_After2Lighting is crucial to saving pedestrian lives – according to MetroPlan Orlando, lack of lighting is a major contributor to pedestrian fatalities.  Only 20% of pedestrian fatalities occur in the daytime.  The rest occur at night. Thank you, City of Orlando, for getting these changes made that will brighten our streets and save lives. Here’s a story about the lights from the Orlando Sentinel:

The City of Orlando’s push into the future of lighting with a campaign to upgrade 14,000 neighborhood streetlights has reached more than the halfway point. Evidence of that $5 million conversion is appearing street by street as the old, “sodium-vapor” streetlights that run on 120 watts each are taken down. In their place, crews are installing fixtures with light-emitting-diode, or LED, lights that consume 55 watts each.

The visual result is striking, redoing the nighttime look of residential streets. The switch isn’t immediately appealing to everybody, but it is cutting down on light pollution spilling into the night sky. Sodium-vapor lights burn with the soft color of candlelight, a vintage look that has been part of Orlando neighborhoods for decades. The glow from LED streetlights is crisper and more the color of a star.

Although each LED streetlight has a lower wattage than sodium-vapor fixtures, they aim all of their light at the street below. The blast of light casts a sharp contrast between where a street is brightly illuminated and deep shadow beyond.   Because their glow is straight down, LED streetlights can be difficult to see from a block away, while the old streetlights can be visible from many blocks away.

Los Angeles pioneered the switch to LEDs when in 2009 the city began converting 140,000 streetlights at a cost of $57 million.   Other major cities in the U.S., including Seattle, Boston and Las Vegas, have followed. Within Florida, Florida, some smaller communities in the Keys and elsewhere have also made the transition. In Central Florida, St. Cloud and Casselberry are making the switch.   In year three of a five-year overhaul, Orlando Utilities Commission has swapped out 8,000 of 14,000 streetlights.

Originally published in the Orlando Sentinel.

By Kevin Spear, Staff Writer

kspear@tribune.com

407-420-5062 or facebook.com/envirospear

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