Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently joined the ranks of the few: North American cities that have started towards a goal of being 100% lit by LEDs in public areas. Ann Arbor joins major cities such as Raleigh, North Carolina, and Toronto, Canada, in seriously engaging with emerging lighting technology to bring energy-saving illumination products to public applications. Consumers all over North America are growing used to seeing LED lamps in traffic lights, but they will soon start seeing LEDs in street lamps and roadway lighting, LED-lit street signs and even Holiday tree lighting. For Blog readers near NEMA headquarters in Rosslyn VA, near Washington DC, you have already seen LED illuminated Street Signs in West Alexandria along Duke and King Streets. They are much more convenient than painted signs, reflective or otherwise, when trying to find cross streets at night while driving.
Among other manufacturers helping cities convert to LEDs, NEMA Member Cree, Inc. recently worked with Ann Arbor and Raleigh to bring LED lighting to the public, be it Holiday tree lights or Parking Garage lighting. The cost of some of these efforts may seem large at first, but one must take into account the scale of the efforts and that refit of an existing system with another always has some conversion cost. Refitting an entire large, bustling City! The demonstrated energy savings, and potential future tax benefits, of LED illumination will increasingly sway public and private planners into using LEDs from the outset; reducing operating cost, reducing maintenance costs, and reducing purchase price as sales volume increases by economies of scale.
For a link to some pictures of Ann Arbor's lighting, click here: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/01/26/ann-arbor-lighting-up-with-100-leds