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North American cities go green under LED street lights

Cutting costs and CO2

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A city near Detroit is replacing all the bulbs in its street lighting with LEDs, following similar moves by a town in North Carolina and even Toronto.

The move will bring in savings of $100,000 per year, Ann Arbour city officials said, meaning the investment will pay itself off inside four years.

Mayor John Hieftje told the press: "They provide the same light, but they last 10 years. We had to replace the old ones every two years." He added that in terms of the city's carbon footprint, the switch was the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road, significantly cutting emissions.

The project will take two years to complete and is being funded to the tune of $630,000 by the city's Downtown Development Authority.

According to reports, roughly 22 per cent of the US's total energy production goes on lighting. LED City initiative, the joint industry-government working group, was set up in February this year in Raleigh, North Carolina, to promote LED lighting as a way of reducing this figure.

According to the US Department for Energy, if LEDs were widely adopted, the amount of energy spent on lighting could probably be halved. Over the border in Canada, Toronto's officials estimate that replacing its street lights with LEDs will save it $6m a year in electricity costs, and cut CO2 emissions by 18,000 tons annually. ®

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