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NYC's big bulb change

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New York City has 250,000 street light fixtures. And in the next five years, every single one will be replaced with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes.

The LED switch announced this week is part of Mayor Bloomberg's sustainability program, known as PlaNYC, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of city government operations 30 percent by 2017.

The 250,000 new LED streetlights are expected to be the largest LED retrofit in the country and save about $6 million in energy and $8 million in maintenance a year, according to the Bloomberg Administration.

The LED project is the first to receive funding through the Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency initiative or “ACE,” a $100 million competitive program that the Department of Citywide Administrative Services launched this fall to expedite projects undertaken by city agencies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. About $10 million from the program will go towards the LED street lighting project, according to New York City Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Edna Wells-Handy.

LEDs have already been installed in street lights along key corridors of the city as part of a pilot initiative, including Eastern Parkway's pedestrian lights, on Manhattan's FDR Drive and along Central Park's pedestrian paths. These LEDs can last up to 20 years before needing replacement, compared to six years for the current standard high-pressure sodium lights used now.

The next phase of the project, which is expected to begin in December, will focus on installing LEDs in the cobra-head fixtures throughout the remainder of Central Park and interior and surrounding roadways.

Photo: NYC.gov

— By on October 25, 2013, 1:23 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure