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Lighting Science Corporation Blazes a New Trail for LED Streetlights

Lighting Sciences Corporation has developed a new LED technology that outperforms existing LED streetlights.Lighting Science Corporation has just announced a new breakthrough in high efficiency LED (light emitting diode) technology that outperforms existing LED streetlights, providing an even greater incentive for the nation’s roadways and institutions to make the switch from standard streetlights to more sustainable LED lighting.


The new LEDs, dubbed the PROLIFIC Series Roadway Luminaires, offer substantial savings over conventional HID (high intensity discharge) streetlighting.  Lighting Science also claims that PROLIFIC performs up to nearly 90 lumens per watt, giving it a big advantage over current LED technology, which performs at up to 60 lumens per watt.  To sweeten the payback even more, federal stimulus funds are available for cities to make the switch from conventional lighting to LED.

Lighting the Way to Energy Savings

Lumens per watt is the standard way to measure lightbulb efficiency, comparable to rating a car’s fuel efficiency in miles per gallon.  Lighting Science bases its claim of almost 90 lumens per watt on the findings of a U.S. Department of Energy approved lab under the federal CALiPER energy efficiency program, so assuming that’s a reliable measurement, the savings over both HID and existing LED technology is considerable.  According to Lighting Science, there are over 40 million streetlights in the U.S. and when you add hospitals and other institutions, military and shipping facilities and other outdoor installations the number skyrockets.

U.S. Cities Go LED

PROLIFIC or not, the rush to switch over to LED is on.  Los Angeles has announced what could be the largest LED retrofit in the U.S., New York City is testing LED streetlights complete with a new pole design, and Anchorage, Alaska is jumping into the pool by replacing one fourth of its entire streetlights with LED’s, a move that is expected to save $360,000 each year on an investment of $2.2 million.  Lowering greenhouse gas emissions is one attraction, but of course the real force behind the stampede is the relatively short payback period, which is being clipped even closer with federal grants and other help.  Los Angeles, for example, is getting a $14 million rebate on the $57 million it’s kicking out for its 140,000 streetlight retrofits.  And if it seems unlikely that all of the 40 million-plus streetlights in the U.S. could eventually switch over to LED, consider this: when was the last time you saw a city lit by gaslight?

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Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Spoutible.


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