In an effort to cut costs and become more environmentally
friendly, the city of Raleigh, NC is looking to LED lighting. The city started
a pilot LED lighting program last year in a downtown parking deck. As a result,
a 40% reduction in power has been recorded as well as substantial increases in
light output, according to Progress Energy.
WRAL, the first HDTV station in the
U.S., reports that Raleigh now wants to expand from simply providing LED
lighting on a single floor of a parking deck to lighting the entire city
with LEDs. The program will eventually expand to use LEDs for street
lights, architectural/accent lighting and pedestrian walkways.
LEDs will be provided
by Cree, Inc., an RTP-based lighting company. Cree specializes in LED
lighting/backlighting used in digital camera flashes, automotive dashboards,
traffic signals, street lamps and various other applications.
The upfront costs for providing LED lighting throughout the
entire city will be markedly higher than traditional lighting. However, Mayor
Charles Meeker notes that the costs could be quickly recovered due to the power
savings afforded by LED technology. Meeker says that Raleigh could save roughly
$80,000 USD a year in utility bills just by switching its parking decks from
traditional lighting to LED lighting. Meeker also believes that significant
reductions can be made in the $4 million USD that the city spends to power
street lights each year.
"We are thinking by our role of testing these products,
implementing those products and then publicizing the successful tests, we can
help not just our community, but communities throughout the country to a better
job with energy conservation," said Meeker.
"The use of LED lighting will assist in addressing our
nation's energy challenges and helping Raleigh and other cities develop
energy-efficient infrastructure in the future," said Greg Merritt, a spokesman
LEDs are quickly finding a home in a number of varying
arenas. Companies like Asus,
Fujitsu and Sony have introduced
notebooks which use LED backlighting for brighter, sharper screens and reduced
power draw. Also, car manufacturers like Toyota and Volkswagen
are using LEDs for headlights in their high-end automobiles.
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