Monday, September 8, 2014

New Orleans Mayor Approves $14.7 Million LED Streetlight Conversion Program


Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the city of New Orleans have recently announced that the city will soon begin a new program to convert 20,000 streetlights to energy-efficient LED lights. The project is estimated to cost about $14.7 million dollars but the new LED lights will have a much longer lifespan and be more energy efficient.

Conventional street lights normally have approximately a 2 to 3 year lifespan, while LED streetlights offer 10 to 20 years of use. This means less work for city employees, equating to a decrease in overall workload and freeing workers to take care of more important issues.

Director of the City of New Orleans Department of Public Works, Lt. Col. Mark Jernigan, has stated that one of the reasons for the changeover is that LED streetlights will save between 30-50% in energy costs, while providing better lighting.  The work was set to begin in June of 2014 and will be performed over a 12-month period with 15 crews scheduled to change out 600 streetlights per week.

The New Orleans City Council passed the resolution to convert the old streetlights in April due to growing problems with outages of the old streetlights. Since New Orleans is one of those cities with a very eventful nightlife, it seemed to make sense to city leaders. Brighter street lights have also proven to cut down on crime rates. The conversion will not cause a hike in tax rates as the $14.7 million cost will come from an Entergy account designed specifically for energy savings.

The city has made huge progress in the nine years since the hurricane Katrina disaster, which virtually destroyed most of the city’s infrastructure. Many of the popular tourist attractions are up and running at full speed. The city is well known for its jazz festivals but also hosts numerous food, art and wine festivals each year and of course, the famous Mardi Gras, which is held annually in February.

Mayor Mitchell Landrieu has made it a priority to enhance the quality of life in the city so that New Orleans can attract more high-tech jobs. During his three years in office, he has worked to create lasting reform that would transform New Orleans into a hub of entrepreneurship. The LED streetlight project will provide better safety for residents and visitors since LED has proven to offer much brighter, more efficient lighting.

Kalihi, Honolulu has also recently switched out its traditional streetlights for LED due to an unusually high number of accidents on the streets at night. Honolulu is considering changing out all the street lights eventually as their city budgets allow.