Cree Inc, a manufacturer of light emitting diode (LED) solid-state lighting components, and the City of Raleigh, NC, announced a joint, city-wide initiative to test, deploy and promote LED technology focused on a variety of general lighting applications. Called the LED City Initiative, it is designed to create a living laboratory to deliver the economic, environmental and usage benefits of LED lighting to the residents of Raleigh. The first project is focused on validating both the cost savings and technology capabilities of LEDs through an installation of LED lighting in the city’s municipal building parking deck. Public officials expect the initiative to serve as a model for other cities that are considering implementing energy-efficient infrastructures.

Raleigh plans to deploy LED lighting through its living-laboratory initiative to serve a number of lighting applications, including garage and parking lot lights, street lights, architectural and accent lighting, portable lighting and pedestrian and walkway lighting over the next 18 months.

A representative for Progress Energy, Raleigh’s primary electric utility provider, said the floor equipped with LED lights uses more than 40 percent less energy than the standard lighting system. Plus, according to Progress Energy’s research, the quality of light in the garage is greatly improved.

“The economic benefits for municipalities to invest in LEDs are clear—they save energy, reduce environmental impact and improve the quality of light,” said Charles Meeker, Raleigh mayor. “We believe that the cost savings and benefits of LED lighting are real and achievable today.”

Electrical contractors may expect to see more cities adopting LEDs in the near future, and they can especially expect to see more LED work in the Raleigh area.

“Raleigh’s progressive commitment to becoming the first ‘LED City’ will no doubt serve as a model for other cities seeking to improve energy consumption and reduce negative impacts on the environment,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance to Save Energy (ASE).       EC