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NYC's 250,000 Street Lights To Be Replaced With LEDs By 2017

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the we-take-a-dim-view-of-bright-idea-jokes dept.

Technology 372

An anonymous reader writes "New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city's 250,000 street light fixtures, which currently use incandescent bulbs, will be replaced with LEDs by 2017. It's part of a plan to reduce the city government's emissions by 30%. The LEDs have a lifespan of 20 years, more than three times that of the current incandescent bulbs, and Bloomberg says it will save $6 million in energy and $8 million in maintenance every year. It will be the largest LED retrofit in the country. 'The first of three phases to replace the standard "cobra-head" high-pressure sodium street lights, which will upgrade 80,000 at a time across the five boroughs, is expected to be completed in December 2015 with the final phase expected to be completed by 2017. Following the replacement of roadway lighting, decorative fixtures in the city's business and commercial districts will be addressed.'"

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372 comments

I wish they'd do it here. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 months ago | (#45236535)

I wonder how many smaller cities have already done this?

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

madirad (163824) | about 6 months ago | (#45236609)

We've got it here in Oakland. The lights were changed about 2 weeks ago, at least on my street.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45236669)

We have had them in my crappy city in the UK for a couple of years now. They put out better light than the old orange bulbs and seem brighter. The orange colour of the old bulbs is actually known to inhibit night vision, so white LEDs are safer.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#45237017)

Well, white LEDs are most likely lousy for low levels of illumination because our color perception shifts with the illumination: our visual cortex expects redder colors in darkness, so physically white faint light looks unnaturally blue, and incandescent light bulbs correspondingly look too red when you attempt to use them for daylight levels of illumination. I'm patriotically proud to point out that this is called the Purkinje effect. ;-) While the fact that LED light appears brighter may lead to energy savings beyond the simple increase in energy conversion efficiency, I wonder how it will change the perception of traffic signs. The red ones will probably appear even darker. What about traffic safety?

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45237197)

I have read that cooler colour temperatures in the whitish/bluish range actually helps to inhibit sleep. That could be a good thing to keep drivers from dozing off.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 6 months ago | (#45237165)

The orange colour of the old bulbs is actually known to inhibit night vision, so white LEDs are safer.

My understanding is that white light destroys (photobleaches [wikipedia.org]) the rhodopsin/visual purple [wikipedia.org] in the eye, inhibiting night vision, which is why ships and subs use red (or simply non-white) lights at night. Anyone out there with more specific info and/or why one color is better than another for night vision preservation?

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236625)

This is a pretty terrible idea. It snows in NYC right? the LED's dont generate enough heat to melt the snow, so they will have to install heaters to keep the street lights from caking up with snow/ice and becoming useless.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (4, Insightful)

EvilSS (557649) | about 6 months ago | (#45236673)

I think you're confusing street lights and traffic signals. Places in the snow belt have had issues with LED traffic signals getting blocked with snow, but I can't see the same thing happening with a downward facing street light.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (5, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 months ago | (#45236757)

Yes, we've had LED traffic signals here for years, and I've only seen them obstructed by snow once. You need a wet, sticky snow and a swift drop in temperature for it to happen. IINM they put remote-controlled heaters in the newer ones.

And it seldom snows upwards. I don't think I've ever seen it snow upwards.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236953)

And it seldom snows upwards. I don't think I've ever seen it snow upwards.

When it finally does snow upwards here in NYC, the last thing I'll be worried about are the traffic signals.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 6 months ago | (#45237041)

I've seen it snow upwards before. I was in a city and on the 7th floor of a building. Apparently they got updrafts when the wind was blowing from the north and it was indeed snowing upwards!

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 6 months ago | (#45236769)

I think you're confusing street lights and traffic signals. Places in the snow belt have had issues with LED traffic signals getting blocked with snow, but I can't see the same thing happening with a downward facing street light.

It will when temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing. When above the snow on top will melt and the water will cling to the downward facing cover where it will freeze when the temperature drops. Icicles may form, which could be a safety hazard.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 6 months ago | (#45236923)

There is even a simple solution to that as well. We have lots of traffic lights with LEDs in them here in Minnesota now and they all seem to work fine in our long cold snowy winters. They make devices that almost completely surround the light [wikipedia.org] to shield it from snow and they work great and even the non LED traffic signals have them (as long as I can remember traffic lights have had the shrouds around them here).

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#45237227)

We have shrouds on many of our lights in upstate and western NY, although they're far from ubiquitous. I've never really noticed a big problem with snow sticking to traffic lights except in the rare blizzard that combines the right amount of gusty with large, wet snowflakes and relatively warm temperatures... it's a once every few years occurrence. It's far, far more common for traffic signals to lose power altogether.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 6 months ago | (#45236813)

This is a pretty terrible idea. It snows in NYC right? the LED's dont generate enough heat to melt the snow, so they will have to install heaters to keep the street lights from caking up with snow/ice and becoming useless.

Even if heaters need to be installed they only need to be turned on during cold weather so there is still a potential efficiency benefit.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (3, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#45236931)

Part of my town (the main streets) have LED street lights, and we have no problem with snow or ice. BTW, LED's are in the neighborhood of 20-30% efficient, so they don't run ice cold (pun intended). It may seem so though if you've only touched indicator LED's (flashing lights on equipment).

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#45237057)

This is a pretty terrible idea. It snows in NYC right? the LED's dont generate enough heat to melt the snow

Yes they do.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45237233)

I live in Sweden, plenty of snow and plenty of LED traffic lights here. Have never seen one covered in snow but I guess it happens in certain conditions.
However, what to do when you encounter a broken traffic light is taught when learning to drive. (Assume the worst, be as cautious as you can be, fall back to regular right-of-way rules if possible, etc). If you get yourself or someone else killed because you couldn't see the colour of your light, its your own god damn fault.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (2)

Animats (122034) | about 6 months ago | (#45236759)

I wonder how many smaller cities have already done this?

Redwood City, CA, near where I am, is doing it. It's striking, because Redwood City standardized on yellow sodium lamps some time in the 1930s. You know you're in Redwood City when the street lights turn yellow. The new daylight LEDs are a big improvement.

If your community is doing this, push for solar power on some of the lights. Not necessarily all of them, but at least at street corners. That way, no matter what disaster happens, some lights will stay on.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236939)

If your community is doing this, push for solar power on some of the lights. Not necessarily all of them, but at least at street corners. That way, no matter what disaster happens, some lights will stay on.

Assuming you add battery replacement and panel replacement costs to your maintenance budget.

Stick with sodium (4, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 6 months ago | (#45236775)

Near observatories to cut down on light pollution. LEDs are too broadband.

Re:Stick with sodium (0)

drnb (2434720) | about 6 months ago | (#45236895)

Near observatories to cut down on light pollution. LEDs are too broadband.

In the digital era astronomers no longer need to be near their telescope. We can put the telescopes in more remote locations, or ideally in space.

Re:Stick with sodium (5, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#45237127)

What about amateur astronomers?

Amateur astronomers actually make a *lot* of the discoveries and do a lot of the photography.

Re:Stick with sodium (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 months ago | (#45237145)

And are you going to pay to put and maintain telescopes in those places? The problem here is that we're discarding existing infrastructure without adequately building replacement infrastructure. The US government is notorious for underfunding such things.

Re:Stick with sodium (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#45237119)

Near observatories to cut down on light pollution. LEDs are too broadband.

On the plus side, if somebody is thinking about installing LEDs, that is (sometimes) a sign that light fixtures that have been, well, fixtures, for decades, sometimes quite a few of them, are getting their first re-evaluation in quite some time.

It only helps if somebody pushes at the correct time; but if the fixtures are being reevaluated in anything resembling a serious way, that's your best chance to get action on things like fixtures that point upward, ill-designed fixtures that don't target their output very well, and all the various other dubious lighting decisions that help add up to light pollution.

It's unlikely to be perfect; but LEDs (being costly; but easy to aim fairly tightly, as well as very good at doing accent work (say, lighting a set of stairs with small lamps set just above the steps, rather than one big bulb-on-a-stick pointed in the direction of the stairs and cranked to 11), do encourage more efficient targeting in a way that big, cheap, one-size-fits-all bulbs don't.

Re:Stick with sodium (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#45237275)

From the few astronomers I've talked to, streetlamp design affects light pollution as much or more than what kind of bulb it's using. Many streetlamps, especially older ones, shine in every direction including up. Lights with a hood to reflect all of the light towards the ground are better for both energy consumption and light pollution.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | about 6 months ago | (#45236851)

Monterey, CA did it a little while back. One nice side effect I've noticed is less light pollution compared to the presidio which didn't change their lights. No idea about the cost savings though.

Re:I wish they'd do it here. (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#45236979)

I wonder how many smaller cities have already done this?

I think that it's not uncommon (though traffic signals usually go first, since LEDs have been cheap and good at red, green, and amber for longer than they've been either cheap or good for white, and bulbs-behind-filters have always had even more miserable efficiency than bulbs in general).

LEDs are still pretty expensive, and white ones (because they are usually blue ones pumping a phosphor layer) are still less efficient than one might like; but one big advantage is lifespan.

A replacement lightbulb doesn't cost much; but sending out guys in bucket trucks to deal with dead ones adds up.

Costs (3, Insightful)

sfm (195458) | about 6 months ago | (#45236581)

Yes, there is a savings, but how much is it going to cost NY taxpayers up front ?
Would a better strategy be to replace the sodium lights with LED style lights, as they wear out?

Re:Costs (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45236627)

They're doing that *too* of course, since while they're rolling them out, they'll still need to replace broken ones in parts of town that they're not in.

...but the question is simply a matter of if it's more efficient to replace an existing, working, lightbulb with an LED.

I know it was for me, but my replacement costs were low. [I didn't have to pay the laborer...]

Re:Costs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236815)

> my replacement costs were low. [I didn't have to pay
> the laborer...]

Lucky you. I can't afford a nigger.

Many of those bulbs due for replacement anyway (4, Insightful)

drnb (2434720) | about 6 months ago | (#45236693)

Yes, there is a savings, but how much is it going to cost NY taxpayers up front ? Would a better strategy be to replace the sodium lights with LED style lights, as they wear out?

Yes, there is a savings, but how much is it going to cost NY taxpayers up front ?

It looks like a 4 year program and the incandescents last about 7 years. So many of those bulbs will be due for replacement anyway.

Re:Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236695)

Exactly, but we know there are no smart people in politics, only guys with their hands in everyone else's pockets.

Re:Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236785)

Not if the power draw between the two is high enough, electricity costs money

Re:Costs (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236795)

Nope, its actually cheaper to replace them in large blocks than to replace them one at a time. Old tech told me once that when they maintained the long tubes at the factory high up. Once a few went it was only a matter of about a year or two before the rest of the them did and it was more disruptive, time consuming, and costly to replace them one at a time than to do it all at once. So, I've followed this process for most of my larger lighting projects. If you are going to replace one brake light replace them all. If you are going to replace one headlight replace them both.

Also, the nice thing about LED lighting is that the way it fails is it just doesn't produce as much light as it once did. So in 20 years if they want to put off the costs for another couple of years, it's entirely possible to do so.

Nothing (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 6 months ago | (#45236873)

Cities can and do borrow to pay for long term investments. If NYC issues bonds, then this is the sort of thing they support. The taxpayers see saving all along the way. If the bond rate is below inflation, they see even more.

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236583)

Nowhere in the constitution is this permitted. ILLEGAL nanno-state interference.

--
roman_mir

Re:fp (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 months ago | (#45237201)

There are two things to observe here. First, state and local governments have considerable latitude under the constitution. A number of things which would be unconstitutional for the federal government are allowed for them. Second, public lighting is one such allowed task.

When do the unions go on strike ... (0)

drnb (2434720) | about 6 months ago | (#45236605)

The LEDs have a lifespan of 20 years, more than three times that of the current incandescent bulbs, and Bloomberg says it will save $6 million in energy and $8 million in maintenance every year.

When does the electrical workers union go on strike, the bulb changers belong to this one, followed by various other city worker union going on strike in support?

Re:When do the unions go on strike ... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45236653)

Well, not *just* yet, anyway.

I'm sure there's plenty of kickbacks in the roll-out phase.

So... ..3-5 years?

Re:When do the unions go on strike ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236713)

Probably about as quickly as the plumbers' unions in Philadelphia went on strike when they learned the new Comcast building would have all waterless urinals in it. They sued, won, and forced Comcast to pay them to install miles of water that wasn't hooked up to anything. It cost Comcast subscribers millions of dollars.

Re:When do the unions go on strike ... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 months ago | (#45236841)

The IBEW won't strike over this any more than they went on strike to prevent the use of bucket trucks or remotely-read electric meters; my dad was a lineman, and for the first half of his career they had to climb the poles. Changing the bulbs in streetlights is just a tiny part of what they do, more often they're changing transformers squirrels blow up when they crawl inside to get warm.

Re:When do the unions go on strike ... (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 6 months ago | (#45237187)

When does the electrical workers union go on strike, the bulb changers belong to this one

We'll just ship them off to a different planet, along with all the telephone sanitizers.

[obscure reference [wikipedia.org]?]

incandescent != sodium (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236613)

"high-pressure sodium street lights" are not incandescent bulbs.

Re:incandescent != sodium (2)

EvilSS (557649) | about 6 months ago | (#45236715)

Great, problem solved! I'll call the mayor and let him know he can cancel the project...

Re:incandescent != sodium (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#45237115)

Came here to say this. Sodium lights are already pretty darned efficient, if a bit ugly. Sodium lights get 140 lumens per watt, so I'm not sure where their savings are coming from - perhaps the improved quality of light lets them decrease the lumens.

High-pressure sodium isn't "incandescent" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236639)

It's a luminous vapor, rather than light from a heated solid filament. It's already much more efficient than incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light.

Re:High-pressure sodium isn't "incandescent" (1)

thule (9041) | about 6 months ago | (#45237099)

Isn't it LOW pressure sodium? The low pressure ones have that orange look. They are extremely power efficient, but they give off a narrow spectrum of light. I have heard cops and paramedics hate them because it is hard to tell what is blood, oil, or water spilled on a street.

you said "luminous vapor" huh huh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45237239)

"luminous vapor" is that some relative of "divine wind" ? snerk

Bout time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236655)

I was wondering at what point Cities would make the full transition to LED lighting. Though, I expected them to switch over to color changing rather than single color lighting. Just as reliable, but gives better ability for safety reasons. Say if there was a gunshot in an area the colors could change to highlight the area for the helicopter pilot to immediately get drawn into or police officers on scene. Colors can also be used to increase the plant growth or blooming in specific areas like parks.

Current lights are NOT incandescent (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 6 months ago | (#45236657)

Metal-halide vapor lights are not incandescent.

Re:Current lights are NOT incandescent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236783)

I bet they are and you would be too if you were about to be replaced!

Re:Current lights are NOT incandescent (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#45237083)

You're right, but they're replacing high pressure sodium vapor lamps (the ones with the fugly pinkish orange color). Metal-halide are bright white, take a while to warm up, and are usually used in places like school gyms. Occasionally I've seen them used in parking lots.

20 year lifespan (3, Informative)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | about 6 months ago | (#45236679)

Let me first say that I live in New Orleans, so go ahead make all your inept government remarks now. That said, we did begin making changes in our traffic signals to LED lights and the big claim of "20 year lifespan" was made. Less than 5 years later I see many of the LED bulbs (really, clusters of bulbs, like a Lite Brite set) are now replaced with the traditional traffic signal bulbs. Not only did the LEDs not last very long, they aren't being replaced with LEDs but with the old style bulbs. Hope NYC gets LEDs from a better vendor than we did.

Re:20 year lifespan (1)

magarity (164372) | about 6 months ago | (#45236857)

Because traffic lights go on and off and on and off all day long. They're a terrible idea for LED because the ballasts wear out doing that. The actual LED built into the thing is still perfectly OK actually. Your local government (and many others) have been scammed by clueless but well meaning greenies on the city council over the traffic light LED thing. Streetlights that come on and stay on all night long are a much better use.

Re:20 year lifespan (2)

Kardos (1348077) | about 6 months ago | (#45237139)

If that's true, then it's a terrible design. Only one of the lights is on at a time, right? So the ballast can run continuously, switching between red/green/yellow as appropriate.

Re:20 year lifespan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45237177)

A ballast is only needed to limit current for arc-based light sources. So fluorescent lights need them and mercury- or sodium-based street lights need them, but LEDs definitely do not. An LED lamp just needs a power supply and that's about it.

dom

Re:20 year lifespan (1)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 6 months ago | (#45237199)

That's terrible for LEDs with circuitry designed for continuous operation. It shouldn't be an issue in traffic lights, because the LED units used there are designed for that purpose anyway (it's not like they're dropping in a A19 household LED bulb), so the ballast should be designed for it.

Re:20 year lifespan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236913)

You must have bought the chinese versions. They've been pushing a cheaper version that's bout 30-50 percent less for a while now. The problem is that the life is literally 5-8 years instead of 15-20.

Re:20 year lifespan (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 months ago | (#45237087)

They've been pushing a cheaper version that's bout 30-50 percent less for a while now. The problem is that the life is literally 5-8 years instead of 15-20.

You should mean roughly 50-70 percent less. Because that's what you're claiming with the lifespan. That's a big difference.

Re:20 year lifespan (3, Interesting)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#45236933)

The problem with LEDs in traffic lights, in my experience just driving around, is that the main problem is the light module itself somehow fails such that some of the LEDs can't get electricity. This results in part of the LEDs not lighting. New Orleans is right on the ocean, so the salt water in the air is more likely to cause corrosion problems. The equivalent would be blaming incandescent lights because the bases of the lamps fell apart after wind shook the signals around too much.

And then there is the problem up north, where incandescent traffic light lamps would keep the winter snow melted. When they were changed to LEDs, the lights started to freeze over from the lack of heat.

LEDs aren't perfect for traffic lights, but at least they're actually monochromatic.

Some of the first LED based signals not visible... (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 6 months ago | (#45237011)

I recall a suburb of Los Angeles that installed some LEDs in traffic signals in the late 1980s. The was a visibility problem based on angle. At one light, maybe more but I only witnessed this once, when within about 10 feet of the limit line you could not see which light was illuminated. So the first car stopped at the light could not tell when it turned green.

Re:Some of the first LED based signals not visible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45237265)

My experience is the complete opposite. Overhere LED traffic signals have clear glass (the color comes from the light of the LEDs themselves) so you can easily see which lamp is lit, i.e., the one giving color. With traditional bulbs the cover glass is colored (the bulbs are white), so when the sun shines in the armature all lamps appear to be lit.

LEDs for traffic signals have many problems (being to damn bright at night, for example) but they are excellent for discerning what color the signal is currently projecting.

Re:20 year lifespan (2)

Bratch (664572) | about 6 months ago | (#45237019)

Traffic signals are a different application. A few yeard ago I heard of a city somewhere up north that replaced all their incandescent traffic signals with LEDs. When winter came, the new signals, using 90% less power, didn't emit enough heat to melt the snow that accumulated in the signal housing. The snow can build up enough to completely block the light, resulting in confusion and accidents all over the city. They had to either go back to incandescents, install a heater element, or modify the housings. This shouldn't affect the street lighting.

All of our MTS busses have converted to LED headlights, which isn't hard to notice because they are exessively bright, even during the day.

Re:20 year lifespan (1)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about 6 months ago | (#45237209)

Yeah, exactly. Someone somewhere has won a huge contract based on probably unverifiable claims of LED lifespans.

They've already done this here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236729)

in Buenos Aires, lots of streets have already been replaced, but we still have a lot to go.

The effect is quite strange. The cold-white light reflects off the pavement in a spot (as opposed to the diffused old orange-yellow bulbs), making streets look permanently wet-ish.

Doesn't look bad, but it's different.

Not Incandescent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236753)

No reasonable community has used incandescent street lights for decades except for certain historic districts. High-intensity discharge lamps standard. The summary clearly has no idea what it's talking about.

I can but hope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236765)

I really hope they will use models that reduce light polution. Yes, it seems futile in such a city, but if you're replacing wholesale anyway, might as well add this. In fact, a little care could reduce glare and make lighting safer that way, with a nice side benefit of less wasting light upward. On that scale even a few percent light not wasted adds tangible savings.

Re:I can but hope (1)

mmclure (26378) | about 6 months ago | (#45237191)

The picture in TFA seems to show a modern full cutoff fixture (i.e. a fixture designed so that the light only projects down and sideways, not upward.) Hopefully they will resist the temptation of thinking "well, LED lights use less energy so lets put brighter LEDs in!" that has happened in other communities that replace their lighting with LEDs.

This has been tried (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236793)

Works great in warmer states.. But it was a city in Wisconsin or Minnesota - anyway during winter the LED lights froze over, all of them, putting the city in gridlock. The answer was to include 'heating' devices in them but that will drastically negate any real savings by installing these. I wonder how many thousands of years NYC will have to pay for this before they actually start seeing some sort of return on their investment.

Guess maybe Bloomers missed it.

http://www.elightbulbs.com/lighting-blog/led-traffic-lights

Re:This has been tried (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 6 months ago | (#45236937)

The is a big difference between Traffic lights and street lights.. the one they are talking about "street lights" are the ones facing downward towards the road, if there is enough snow to block the out, i doubt anyone will care at that point that they don't have a functioning street light.

Re:This has been tried (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#45237175)

First, are you talking about traffic lights or street lights? Second, if the older style bulbs produced enough heat to de-ice the fixtures, then the combined power draw of the LED's and the heaters need be no more than the draw of the old lights. Even in tropical Minnesota, you don't get snow or ice ever day. They even have a month of something they call "summer".

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236821)

Are LED really that much more efficient than Sodium vapor it is worth going through and replacing perfectly good bulbs?

Replacing as they fail makes more sense, compare up front cost to lifetime savings and do or dont. Going though and doing an extra change cycle (labor) to replace bulbs that are still good doesn't seem to make sense.

Re:why? (3)

Amouth (879122) | about 6 months ago | (#45237051)

Actually this is a simple math problem.

Two options:
Replace all at once
Replace as they burn out

Either way i have to physically replace each bulb.

It is more cost efficient to replace them all at once in a sequential pattern, rather than one at a time randomly, Thats because the cost to replace is the same, but i'm minimizing my travel distance & times as i'm going dispatch->pole->pole->dispatch rather than dispatch->pole-dispatch->pole->dispatch. You would be surprised but travel times are normally the highest impacting item when it comes to wrench time measurements. Also to add to it, if i wait and replace as they fail i'm paying X for electricity over that time, where if i replace it now i pay Y which is lower than X. The power savings is a fringe benefit compared to labor, but non the less it is factored in.

The biggest question that comes to mind for this type of decision is the time value of money. I can spend X now or X+1 from Now till then. which one is lower cost overall between now and then isn't always a straightforward answer.

light pollution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236831)

How about just get rid of the lights and replace them with nothing. It's not like they prevent crime, more than half of crime happens in broad daylight. Cars don't need them because they have headlights. Scaredy cats need to get over themselves before they destroy everything.

LEDs break? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236875)

How do LEDs break? I've never seen it happen in any of the LEDs I've owned.

New city motto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236881)

NEW YORK CITY: Leaping boldly into the Year 2000- Today!

At least it's not CFL (1)

Cammi (1956130) | about 6 months ago | (#45236897)

At least he didn't go CFL. Those suckers have a life span of 5 months. Haven't tried LEDs yet, but all what I have seen so far is that they are about 5% brightness of CFL and Regular bulbs.

Fir5t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236899)

Minutes. At 4ome,

Snow? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 6 months ago | (#45236927)

One of the side benefits of traditional bulbs is that the heat generated helps keep them clear of snow and ice. I don't think LED's generate enough. Anyone know how they are handling that?

Re:Snow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236993)

in my state, they realized this the hard way and switched everything back after a year.

i'm sure the unions of city employees paid to replace the bulbs are loving this. silly tax payers. pay more.

Re:Snow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45237071)

Random fact: this is why lights run the other direction on railways. The red light is at the bottom where it can't be blocked by snow.

Street Light Replacement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45236943)

I believe that Milwalkee. WI replaced all their streetlights with LED's some years ago. There is a problem with this in areas of the country that get snow. LED's generate no, or very little, heat. That means that the sun has to melt all the snow/ice from those streetlights after a storm, and that could take weeks or more. This causes a lot of confusion among drivers who are wondering who has the right of way. So, NYC should be careful, as the local constables might find themselves doing streetlight cleaning duties too.

Re:Street Light Replacement (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#45237257)

Street Light != Traffic Signal

Yes, snow is a problem for traffic signals. Not so much for street lights which emit light downwards. And are not the same safety issue if they do get blocked.

Heaters can mitigate traffic signal blockage. And even with dozens of snowstorm days per year, will consume less energy than incandescents running 24 x 365.

High Pressure Sodium are not Incandescent! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45237157)

They are gas discharge lamps, and are quite efficient. They do suck for light pollution, though. LED's with enough light output to replace them are also quite hot.

Cue the Unintended Consequences (2)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 6 months ago | (#45237229)

Like 'dim' streetlights in Winter because they have frozen over, and (for cities that don't think of these things ahead of time) failure to install seasonally enabled heating units into the enclosure. All in all the human-time and effort of manufacturing and deploying these new solutions, along with the added heater circuit to make them useable, will really eat into that eco-energy difference equation.

Lots of eco initiatives these days come down to someone smiling and pointing to a little device that saves a few ergs of energy here and now, and just over the ridge there is a brand new factory making these things that is poisoning rivers and people with heavy metals. While very little energy is actually saved and unintended consequences pile up.

(Thank You Planet Saving Fluorescent Bulbs for saving the planet by seeding our landfills with elemental mercury instead of evil carbon. And giving me a HEADACHE whenever I am trapped in a room with you.)

And with LED light bulb revolution say goodbye to lots of radio communications [which.co.uk]. While the goofy things thrive on DC it is achieved through the use of really radio-noisy often insufficiently shielded switching power supplies and forced rectification. And brief high current pulses to 'cheat' higher light output without causing overheating.

Our city has LED traffic lights and even moderately strong FM stations disappear completely at intersections. I have no doubt that this interference affects emergency services' communications too, and that a whole lotta FCC Title 47, Part 15 violations are going on.

No one seems to care because people seem to be stupid when it comes to so-called eco-friendly product selling jobs. Sorry I so incorrigible about the subject, I do love the planet.

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