Energy Efficiency

Published on November 4th, 2013 | by James Ayre


Buenos Aires LED Streetlamp Retrofit — 125,000 Streetlamps Being Replaced With LEDs

November 4th, 2013 by  

Buenos Aires is about to undergo an enormous streetlamp retrofit — 125,000 outdated streetlamp bulbs will be replaced with new, energy-efficient LED bulbs provided by corporate giant Philips. The new LEDs are expected to reduce the Argentinean city’s energy use by as much as 50% — and thus notably reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions as well.

The 13-million-person-strong city awarded the contract for the enormous LED retrofit to Philips as the result of a recent public bidding process. The new LEDs from Philips — in addition to greatly reducing energy use (and lasting much longer) — provide a number of notable improvements over the lighting system that they’re replacing, including: improved visibility, reduced crime, and improved color perception.

Image Credit: © Philips

Image Credit: © Philips

TreeHugger provides more details:

Buenos Aires in Argentina is the second biggest city in South-America, with about 13 million people. To light up the city at night requires over 125,000 street lamps. As you can imagine, that uses a lot of energy, and costs a lot of money (both for the energy and maintenance when the lamps need to be replaced). But the city has decided to tackle this problem in a way that should save energy, and thus reduce pollution, make neighborhoods safer at night, and reduce maintenance expenses.

It’s estimated that if cities around the world made a switch to LED tech like Buenos Aires, savings would add up to €130 billion ($180 billion) in reduced energy costs each year. It would also prevent 670 million tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each year. Not bad for streetlamps!

Large LED streetlight retrofits are becoming increasingly common in some parts of the world (note the recent world record for one in Los Angeles). Not really all that surprising when you consider how huge the cost savings can be, and the fact that many local governments are now on the lookout for means of reducing their energy bills, as energy costs have been rising notably in much of the world in recent years.

Also see: Intelligent Street Lighting Saves 80 Percent on Energy.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • They will also realize significant savings in labor, because LEDs last longer and will need to be replaced less frequently.

  • StefanoR99

    Do LEDs help with light pollution?

  • Wayne Williamson

    This is cool…but, I believe the 50 percent reduction of the cities energy usage is probably incorrect…probably meant the energy used for lighting streets will be reduced by 50%.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Perhaps not. There was recently an article about how much one of the SoCal cities (LA?) was saving with a switch to LEDs. It turns out that street lighting was a large portion of their energy use.

      • A Real Libertarian

        Maybe 50% of the city government’s energy use?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Found this –

          “The largest among those cities is San Diego, which will be replacing about 90 percent of its streetlights, roughly 35,000. The city is replacing its old low-pressure sodium lights – a common streetlight – with induction bulbs that use about 40 percent less energy. 16,500 have already been converted, and officials expect the transition to be finished by next spring.

          Before the conversion, the city had been paying about $4.7 million a year to light its streets. When all 35,000 lights are replaced, that cost will drop to about $2.8 million a year, according to Tom Blair, deputy environmental services director for the City of San Diego.

          And it’s not just energy costs that will go down. The old sodium bulbs typically had to be replaced every 3 or 4 years, while the new induction bulbs can last more than a decade. Blair says a set of induction bulbs were installed in downtown San Diego about 12 years ago and have yet to need replacement. “That’s a significant savings,” Blair says.”

          I stumbled across another site that listed ten or so cities that have switched to LEDs and have found the payback period to be 7 to 10 years based on electricity savings alone. Some cities were spending over 50% of their energy budget on street lights.

          Replacing bulbs is an additional savings. Have to send out a truck with lift and crew. Sometime a squad car to manage traffic.

  • Altair IV

    As good as this is, I think, or at least hope, that the real wave of the future will be in active lighting systems; ones that use sensors to detect vehicular and pedestrian traffic and dim and brighten as needed. There are several communities using them already.

    I also believe that fixture design and positioning needs to be considered more carefully. In so many places there are many more lights than are actually needed to illuminate the area, and fixtures are often poorly designed so that much of the light goes straight into the sky, into people’s eyes (glare), or is otherwise wasted. We don’t need more lighting, we need better lighting.

    Not only would these things save even more energy, but it would also help to bring back the dark night skies we used to have. It’s quite sad to realize how many people these days have never really seen a true starry sky.

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