City on Target to Meet Goals of Converting 3,000 Street Lights to LED This Year
By Nina Sherer, Arlington Public Works and Transportation
Posted on June 19, 2020, June 19, 2020

LED Street Light Conversion

The City Council recognizes the integral role technology has in making Arlington the city of choice for its residents, businesses, and visitors. Throughout the city, departments are working to enhance the use of current technologies and embrace new ones that will provide more cost-effective and efficient services and experiences for everyone.

The Department of Public Works and Transportation has been responding to the direction to “put technology to work” in various aspects of its operations. Recently, drivers on I-20 were able to see firsthand one of the most visible ways the department is implementing new technology when the City’s streetlight crew replaced the high-pressure sodium bulbs in a high-mast light fixture near the Cooper Street exit with LED bulbs.

Converting to LED technology provides multiple economic and environmental benefits compared to the high-pressure sodium lamps. LEDs have an expected useful life of 10 years; twice the expected life of a sodium lamp. The increased expected useful life results in decreased maintenance costs.

LEDs also consume less electricity than sodium bulbs. Converting the city’s streetlights to LED will save an estimated $150,000 per year in energy charges. Environmental benefits include the reduction of the use of toxic substances, like mercury, in the production of the bulb and exposure to the substances in our city; a wider and more consistent light pattern focused on roadways, reducing light pollution for residents and Arlington’s natural nocturnal life; and an improved color rendering which allows colors to be seen in a way that more closely represents how they are seen in natural lighting.

Since October of 2019, the City’s streetlights group has converted over 1,400 lights to LED and are on target to surpass the goal of 3,000 conversions during fiscal year 2020. After conducting an evaluation of the city’s system, work is being focused on the larger high-mast lights and lights in high-volume traffic areas. Once these conversions are complete, work will move to residential areas. Funding for these conversions is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation. The work to bring more energy efficient and environmentally friendly lighting to Arlington supports the foundation’s mission to contribute to a thriving Arlington by supporting causes which benefit its citizens and enhance the natural surroundings and lifestyle.

The eight employees assigned to the Streetlight Maintenance group are expected to complete the conversion of the streetlight network to LED over the next four years. This work is in addition to the routine maintenance required to keep Arlington’s 22,483 streetlights operational.

Residents interested in learning more about the streetlight system can click here for additional information.

Put Technology To Work, Arlington Tomorrow Foundation
News, Streets