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Do LED streetlights look like a prison yard searchlight?

Carolyn Mathas


Eugene, Oregon is in the process of swapping out high-pressure sodium bulbs on its residential streets and replacing them with LEDs. The city is spending approximately $850,000 of the $1.5 million project, after a water-board rebate and state DoE tax credit. Some, however, are not excited with the results.

A few residents think they look like prison or helicopter searchlights - just a tad too white but not bright enough. They're actually correct there, as the lumens involved with the LEDs are approximately half those produced by the previous solution.

According to Eugene reps, LEDs use 69% less energy and won't have to be replaced nearly as often. Sodium bulbs tended to last approximately five years and the LEDs involved are thought to be good for 20 years. Most important to the city is that they estimate a $120,000 energy cost savings annually and more than another third of that amount in maintenance savings.

The city is also set to receive a rebate of $236,735 from the Eugene Water & Electric Board through a program it runs to encourage its business customers to switch to energy-saving lights.

Do LED streetlights look like a prison yard searchlight? Do LED streetlights look like a prison yard searchlight?
High-pressure sodium vs LED (L-R) streetlights in Kansas City. Source: US DOE/EE-0958

Oregonians aren't the only ones less than satisfied with LEDs' glow. In a New York Times article, "LED Streetlights in Brooklyn Are Saving Energy but Exhausting Residents," residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood with LEDs liken the light to, "…a strip mall in outer space," "construction or film crew sites," and "…a prison yard and alien abductions." The article also mentions similar feelings in such cities as Seattle, WA and Davis, CA.

While they may be difficult for the residents to take, the truth is in all of these cities, they aren't going anywhere soon, and may even increase. So, I'd like to ask - does anyone out there have a particular aversion to LED lights in their 'hoods?

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  • Warm colors to choose 3000 - 4000 К Then there will be good lighting For the lighting of motorways to apply 6000 К

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