Cree Incorporated and the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that Ann Arbor will join Raleigh, North Carolina, and Toronto in the growing LED City initiative. In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, Ann Arbor plans to become the first U.S. city to convert 100 percent of its downtown streetlights to light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

Ann Arbor expects to install more than 1,000 LED streetlights beginning next month. The city anticipates a 3.8-year payback on its initial investment. The LED lights typically burn five times longer than the bulbs they replace and require less than half the energy. Each fixture draws 56 watts (W) and is projected to last 10 years, replacing fixtures with bulbs that use more than 120W and last only two years.

Full implementation of LEDs is projected to cut Ann Arbor’s public lighting energy use in half and eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,425 tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road for a year.

Detroit Edison, Ann Arbor’s local utility provider, will meter the new LED streetlights with the intent to gather sufficient information to develop new LED-based tariffs.

“This decision is based on three years of extensive research on the energy and maintenance savings associated with LED lighting, citizen surveys and a very successful pilot of 25 LED lights spanning an entire city block,” said Mayor John Hieftje. As a result, the city received a $630,000 grant from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to fund retrofits for the downtown lights.

“This [pilot] installation should save the city more than $100,000 per year and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 294 tons of CO2 [in the first phase],” Hieftje said. “Our plan is to retrofit all downtown lights with LED alternatives over the next two years.”

The LED streetlights currently installed in Ann Arbor are based on the New Westminster Series made by Lumec Inc., which contain LED light engines from Relume Technologies Inc. The light engines are based on the Cree XLamp LED.   EC