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Chicago reaches smart streetlight milestone

The city has created a website where Chicago citizens can track the progress of the programme

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Citizens can look at the impact of the lighting with before and after (above) images on the website
Citizens can look at the impact of the lighting with before and after (above) images on the website

Chicago has installed more than 76,000 new LED smart streetlight fixtures in each of the city’s 50 wards in the first year of a smart lighting programme.

 

The four-year modernisation progamme will see the city replace 85 per cent of its public lights with a view to increasing their reliability and quality.

 

The streetlight upgrade is being implemented by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) which will eventually replace 270,000 of Chicago’s street-, alley- and viaduct lights with high-quality LED fixtures.

 

Citywide lighting management

 

Chicago is also installing a citywide lighting management system for the new LED lights. When it becomes operational later this year, the system will alert the city when lights need servicing.

“After just one year the Chicago smart lighting project has reached every part of Chicago with new, energy efficient and reliable streetlights,” said Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago. “By modernising our city’s streetlights, we are improving night-time visibility, creating new jobs and saving taxpayers more than $100m over the next decade.”

Utility savings from the first year of the programme are estimated to be up to $1m. In addition, the city expects to qualify for as much as $35m in ComEd energy efficiency rebates for switching to more efficient streetlights from outdated high-pressure sodium (HPS).

The new lights, which are owned and operated by the city, consume 50-75 per cent less electricity than HPS lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that is expected to offset the cost of the modernisation.

 

“After just one year the Chicago smart lighting project has reached every part of Chicago with new, energy efficient and reliable streetlights”

 

LED fixtures also last two- to-three times longer than HPS lights. LED lights provide better nighttime visibility, and the LED light fixtures selected by the city are “full cut-off”, meaning they are designed to project light downward where it is needed on streets and sidewalks, not into the night sky.

Streetlight fixture replacements in the first year have been focused in South and West Side neighbourhoods where there has been heightened public safety concerns. In addition, the new lights have been installed on more than a dozen major arterial routes and along the full length of Lake Shore Drive.

 

“This project demonstrates how the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) can drive community investments that benefit the city’s residents and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” added Kurt Summers, chair of CIT, and Chicago treasurer.

 

“We look forward to continuing our work on much needed public infrastructure initiatives that will create equitable economic development in our neighbourhoods for years to come.”

 

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