Energy Efficient LED Streetlight Demonstration in San Jose To Use Intelligent Controls
The City of San Jose will soon embark on its second streetlight pilot using light-emitting diodes. The LED project is part of the city's Green Vision, a 15-year plan to promote environmentally sustainable practices and reduce energy use. (photos)
April 21, 2009
San Jose plans to convert 115 lights in the city's Hillview North neighborhood. (City of San Jose photo)
The existing sodium-vapor streetlights, installed in the 1980s, consume a lot of energy. Last year the city spent almost $3.5 million to power its streetlights, which led the city to experiment with the unpopular idea of turning off hundreds of them, the San Jose Mercury News reported. But San Jose's goal is not only to reduce its energy costs.
San Jose motorists and pedestrians have long complained about the yellow, low-pressure sodium streetlights, which the Merc reported are easily confused with traffic signals, and distort colors. LEDs have been shown to cast a better quality of light, and are longer-lasting, so they're expected to reduce maintenance costs for the City. With the Lick Observatory located just east of the city, another goal is remote dimming to decrease light pollution.
The new streetlights will use lamps equipped with power line networking technology and segment controllers, so the streetlights can sense their environments and be controlled, monitored and dimmed from a distance.
"San Jose is working to show the world that environmental responsibility makes financial sense," said Chuck Reed, Mayor of the City of San Jose. "By transforming our streetlights, we help innovators create new industries and reduce the City’s own operating and maintenance costs."
The control network will provide real-time reporting on the status of the lights and early identification of problems. Future enhancements could include traffic intelligence programs to move traffic more efficiently.
The new streetlights will use LEDway lamps equipped with Echelon power line networking and segment controllers. (City of San Jose photo
The CEO of San Jose-based Echelon, Ken Oshman, said the project is "a good example of how public and private partnership can drive solutions in the market. We are proud to assist San Jose in realizing its Green Vision by contributing to energy savings and reduced carbon dioxide emissions in our local community."
Streetlights consume 40 percent of an average city's annual operations budget, according to Echelon estimates. When the new lighting and control technology is fully deployed in the City, San Jose anticipates it will be able to reduce its energy use by almost 40 percent.
The city's long-term plan is to power its streetlights entirely from renewable sources, potentially via distributed solar modules installed on or near the lights.