Ontario city aims to retrofit all streetlights with LEDs

Welland has an ambitious goal: to retrofit all of its streetlights so that they use LED's. With XLamp LED's by CREE, and light engines by Welland's CRS Electronics, Welland has already installed a pilot project of 50 LED streetlamps on Fitch Street. GreenTbiz conducted a public perception survey in Welland, and found that 73% of those polled preferred the new streetlights. The City of Welland estimates that a complete retrofit could save them C$253,980 a year out of their annual streetlight budget of C$550,000.

CRS Electronics released a video case study of the Welland initiative which shows you exactly what it looks like. The lights inside are brand new, but appearance is old-fashioned, in keeping with the character of the downtown.

Welland joins other North American cities committed to introducing more LED streetlights, through an innovative program called LED City. LED lighting represents a significant cost savings opportunity for cities. Ontario's IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator), street lighting accounts for 14% of municipal electricity in Ontario. Toronto, the other Canadian city currently in the LED City program, in a highly symbolic move, replaced all of the lighting in the CN Tower with LED lights, which yields a 60% savings in lighting the CN Tower over 1990 levels.


In the video, they mention a 9 year pay-back, without a mention of the assumed interest rates, or what costs they considered.

It sounds like they only take into account energy savings, even though they mention these lights require less maintenance. Energy savings are often dwarfed by maintenance savings, so the pay-back is probably under 4 years.

Posted by: Daniel Haran on October 7, 2009 10:08 AM

My sense is also that they only take into account energy savings, although they do mention the longevity of the bulbs. It would be very interesting to see total cost of ownership calculations for this and similar retrofits.

I also appreciated the fact that they allude, in the video, to the feedback they got from the installers, which was positive, and which also suggests easy maintenance.

Posted by: Mark Tovey on October 7, 2009 10:46 AM

i think its great that canada, ontario is changing their street lights to LED lights. its a small step heading towards a sustainable world and also they will be benefiting financially. maybe the usa could think about this idea and put it into action

Posted by: on October 18, 2009 8:42 AM

One of the things I enjoy about this initiative is its symbolic quality. As soon as a city, of whatever size, takes on a project like this, it can inspire other (possibly larger) cities to feel that they could do it too.

It's a little like Prince Edward Island making a commitment to go off the grid using wind-power. When a whole province, of whatever size, starts an initiative like this, there is a symbolic logic to this that may inspire other provinces to consider their options.

Where would we find a small country that would be willing to take on a similar initiative to inspire other countries?

An important related question is: what would be required to take Canada off the grid? We're a small country, population wise. We also have the highest per-capita energy use in the world. As a country, we have huge opportunities, both symbolic and practical, in shifting what the world sees as possible for a an entire country to accomplish.

Posted by: Mark Tovey on October 18, 2009 9:20 AM

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