LED Program in Raleigh, NC
Written by Colin Athens

The LED City Programis designed to facilitate cities across the globe in adopting LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting for significant energy and maintenance cost savings, as well as improved visibility and safety. City participants, such as Boston, Toronto, and Bremen, are reducing the energy use for lighting by as much as eighty per cent. This program serves a number of lighting applications, such as parking lot and street lights, architectural and accent lighting, and pedestrian and walkway lighting.

LED City Program was initially launched with a specific proposal, in which cities could save energy and money by illuminating public spaces with LEDs. In the early stages of 2007, Raleigh, North Carolina transformed one floor of a public parking garage into a testing ground for LED lighting. With the main support of Cree, Inc., a market-leading innovator and manufacturer of semiconductors and devices such as LEDs, Raleigh became the first “LED City” in the world. 

Cree’s new LED light fixtures used 40% less electricity than the traditional high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. Although LEDs cost two to three times as much as traditional bulbs, LEDs can go five or more years without upkeep, helping reduce maintenance costs. Other types of LEDs are already at work in traffic lights, outdoor displays, stadiums, and airports in major cities across the world. 

The LED City Program is setting pace for a new generation of energy-conscious citizens and government leaders. Currently, twenty-four cities in the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, India, and China are part of the LED City Program. According to the Department of Energy, in the next 20 years, rapid adoption of LED lighting in the U.S. can reduce electricity demands from lighting by 62%. Also, adopting LED lighting throughout the United States will eliminate 258 million metric tons of carbon emissions, which avoids building 40 new power plants. As a result, in America alone, financial savings could exceed $200 billion by 2030. Switching to LED lighting across the globe will be an extremely effective step toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions.



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