From Tampa Bay to Los Angeles, light-emitting diodes are transforming the economics–and even the appearance–of nighttime America. Driving the change are energy savings, lower maintenance costs, and the desire for a smaller carbon footprint
CLEARWATER, Fla., May. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Clearwater is in the process of replacing its streetlights with energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, the first city in Pinellas County to do so. Over the next approximately 12 months, the city will remove all 11,290 streetlights containing standard incandescent bulbs and replace them with LED bulbs. 1Patrick Clouden, CEO of Consumer Energy Solutions Inc. (CES), says, “As energy efficiency experts and long-term advocates of LED technology—and as proud residents of Pinellas County—we are delighted to see this process taking place.”
With its streetlight conversion, Clearwater joins a growing list of the nation’s cities making a change to more economical and environmentally friendly lighting, including some of the very largest. In late April, the New York City Council held hearings on a proposed measure that would limit internal and external light use in many buildings that are empty at night, a move that could affect some 40,000 structures and change the shape, or at least the hue, of what New York residents and visitors see when they look up. The basis for the proposed ruling is a desire to reduce potentially wasteful energy use as part of the city’s bid to curb its greenhouse gas emissions. 2
Los Angeles, meanwhile, is in the fifth year of a long-term project to retrofit all of the city’s 215,000 street lights. In June of 2013, the city announced the completion of phase one of the project, with LED fixtures installed on 141,089 street lights. The City of Los Angeles estimates that it will save at least $7 million in energy costs and $2.5 million in avoided maintenance costs annually. Shortly before Los Angeles announced the completion of phase one of its retrofit, the City of Las Vegas finished outfitting 42,000 street lights with LED fixtures. Shortly afterwards, the City of Austin, Texas announced plans to install 35,000 LED street lights, followed by a similar announcement from neighboring San Antonio. 3
As with any major technological change, the switch to LED will require some adjustment along the way. One directly affected group will be the lighting manufacturers themselves, who are somewhat in the position of razor manufacturers whose blades will now suddenly stay sharp for a very, very long time. The biggest players in street lighting—Osram, Royal Philips, Acuity Brands, and Panasonic—are racing to implement new business models in advance of what will be a cratering of traditional lamp sales. Manufacturers used to count on selling replacement bulbs and components every four years, but LED lights come with a ten-year warranty, and many will last 15 to 20 years. Another factor is cost. Although the energy and maintenance savings from LED are real and ongoing, the initial investment is not trivial. The City of Los Angeles, for example, which has already spent $57 million on its streetlight conversion, will need to spend another $50 million to complete the project. 4
These growing pains, however, will not stop—or even slow down—the coming mass transition to LED lighting, not only for street lights but for home use and—even more rapidly—for commercial applications: office buildings, parking garages, stores, warehouses, hospitals, and essentially any other structure requiring extensive lighting. A new report from Navigant Research projects that worldwide unit shipments of LED lamps and modules will experience an overall 19% compound annual growth rate through 2024, more than quadrupling the current volume. In commercial buildings, the shift to LEDs will be most dramatic in the share of lighting units sold for retrofit projects. Although Navigant estimates that only 15% of lamps sold to retrofit projects worldwide in 2014 were LED-based, that share is expected to grow to nearly 76% by 2024. 5
CES, one of the nation’s foremost full-service energy consulting companies, has helped many of its thousands of commercial customers convert to LED, and sees more of them making the move every day. “It just makes sense,” says Clouden. “LEDs are much more energy-efficient than conventional lighting, which means companies save significantly—and permanently—on their overall energy costs. They also last five to ten times as long as conventional lights, which reduces maintenance costs. It’s really a no-brainer.”
About Consumer Energy Solutions, Inc.:
Headquartered in Clearwater, FL, Consumer Energy Solutions, Inc. (CES) is one of the nation’s foremost full-service energy consulting companies, with over two million residential and 300,000 commercial customers across the United States and Canada, including many Fortune 500 companies. Founded in 1999 by Patrick J. Clouden, CES transitioned in 2004 from selling primarily to residential customers to selling primarily to businesses. The company’s long-standing relationships with the largest independent energy suppliers in the U.S., coupled with its unparalleled knowledge of the industry, give CES customers access to the most competitive electricity and natural gas rates available in their area. CES is dedicated to educating its customers about the choices available to them as energy consumers, and to helping them, in a volatile energy market, to balance short-term savings against long-term risk. The company’s mission is to assist its commercial clients in better managing their energy costs so as to add to their bottom line. CES is an industry leader in providing its clients with effective strategies and solutions to reduce energy costs. References are available upon request. For more information, visit www.consumerenergysolutions.com.
1. Goldenstein, Taylor, ” Clearwater to convert all streetlights to LED,” Tampa Bay Times, September 25, 2014. tampabay.com/news/growth/clearwater-to-convert-all-streetlights-to-led/2199382
2. Flegenheimer, Matt, “New York Plan to Save Energy May Mean a Dimmer Skyline,” New York Times, April 29, 2015. nytimes.com/2015/04/30/nyregion/new-york-plan-to-save-energy-may-mean-a-dimmer-skyline.html?_r=2
3. Gerdes, Justin, “Los Angeles Completes World’s Largest LED Street Light Retrofit,” Forbes, July 31, 2013. forbes.com/sites/justingerdes/2013/07/31/los-angeles-completes-worlds-largest-led-street-light-retrofit/
4. Wang, Ucilia, “How LEDs Are Going To Change The Way We Look At Cities,” Forbes, September 29, 2014. forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2014/09/10/bright-lights-big-profits/
5. Henry, Karen, “LED Market Outlook Is Bright,” Energy Manager Today, May 12, 2015.
Karla Jo Helms
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SOURCE Consumer Energy Solutions, Inc.