Now in its fifth year of installing and evaluating LED streetlights on city roadways, Los Angeles, California, continues to lead municipalities and establish precedents for the outdoor solid state lighting sector.
Crews from the Bureau of Street Lighting of the city of Los Angeles installed the first LED fixtures in 2006 to test and evaluate emerging, solid state lighting technology. The success of the initial deployment led department officials to pursue broader deployment of LED streetlights to counter rising energy costs, address ongoing budgetary challenges, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The city has also partnered with the Clinton Climate Initiative as part of its LED streetlight planning efforts. The Bureau has established a five year plan with the goal of installing 20,000 fixtures in 2010 and thirty thousand fixtures annually in the following four years. The city of Los Angeles has already exceeded its plan for 2010 by installing almost 30,000 LED streetlight fixtures.
With over four years of experience with LED streetlights, the city of Los Angeles has been able to develop unique perspectives on the technology and specifications required for a successful installation. According to Ed Ebrahimian, director of the Bureau of Street Lighting of the city of Los Angeles, “We have been able to pattern our specifications on where the technology is.”
Every six months, the Bureau tests and evaluates fixtures submitted by manufacturers. The LED streetlight fixtures must meet minimum requirements posted by the Bureau of Street Lighting. Phase Four of evaluations is currently underway, with five fixtures being evaluated in the final testing process. There were originally 45 inquiries from manufacturers for the current round of testing. The finalist LED streetlight fixtures are tested in the Bureau’s laboratory, in the field, and by independent testing laboratories. Bureau officials also depend on city crews for feedback regarding ease of installation and overall analysis of the fixtures. To date, the city has installed LED streetlight fixtures from two manufacturers: Beta LED and Leotek. “We are always looking for the best fixture at the best price. The door is always open to any manufacturer because the technology changes so rapidly,” said Ebrahimian.
The city’s long term commitment to emerging technology makes Los Angeles a de facto leader in establishing standards for municipal LED streetlights. “When we started this project five years ago, there were no standards, so we faced the challenge of coming up with own. Because we had the commitment and the resources, we were able to do so successfully,” said Ebrahimian. A complete list of LED streetlighting specifications is available on the Bureau’s website at http://www.ci.la.ca.us/bsl/.
City officials are pleased with the success of the LED streetlight program. The nearly 30,000 fixture installation is resulting in about $950,000 in annual energy cost savings with a reduction of electricity consumption of about 56.7%. Funds for the installations come from a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) and a loan from the utility. Ebrahimian continues to pursue additional federal funding for future installations. By 2013, the city of Los Angeles will have installed 140,000 LED streetlights.