Aerial view of Reno, Nevada at night showing new LED lighting in public spaces

LED Street and Area Lighting

LED technology is revolutionizing street and area lighting, offering energy savings of 50%-60% or more, extremely long life and reduced maintenance costs, and, most important: improved lighting.  Municipalities, state transportation departments, ports, prisons and others are turning to LED technology for street, roadway, parking lot, high mast, bridge, tunnel and general area lighting.

Key Benefits

  • LED Lighting offers energy savings of 50% to 60%
  • LED Lighting Reduces Maintenance Costs
  • LED Lighting Provides Better Illumination

“It makes good economic and business sense for the City to install new LED street lights and a wireless control system that reduce energy use by more than 60 percent while improving illumination, safety and addressing dark sky considerations. In addition to dramatic energy and maintenance savings, the control system will also enable us to move to a lower cost metered rate schedule that provides further cost reductions.”

–Brent Gerry, Mayor, City of West Richland

LED Lighting Uses 50-60% Less Energy

LED, or light-emitting diode, is a highly efficient, solid-state lighting (SSL) technology in which nearly all the energy used produces light rather than waste heat.  In addition to being inherently more efficient than high pressure sodium (HPS) and other traditional light sources, LED technology has characteristics that enable higher wattage HPS fixtures to be replaced with lower wattage LED fixtures. For example:

Optical Control: LED lighting provides uniform light distribution, while traditional light sources direct most of their light output to a small area directly under the fixture.

Lumen Depreciation: LED lighting sustains light output for most of its long life, while the rapid depreciation of light output from traditional light sources necessitates the use of higher wattage fixtures to maintain minimum light levels over their useful life.

Adaptability: LED lighting can be field adjusted for different applications, in contrast to HPS lighting which is offered only in fixed wattages, and LED lighting can be easily controlled (dimmed) to save additional energy.

Converting existing street and area lighting to LED reduces energy use by 50%-60% or more, depending on the application, and additional savings can be achieved by dimming during times of day when traffic volume or other factors justify lower light levels. In parking garages LED lights can be combined with controls and motion sensors so that they dim automatically at times of day when activity is low, then instantly return to full illumination when activity is detected.

LED Lighting Reduces Maintenance Costs

In contrast to LED lighting, HPS and other traditional types of area lighting require ongoing maintenance to replace failed lamps and ballasts (HPS lamps last 4-5 years, ballasts 8-10 years).  The associated maintenance costs are substantial, with 20% or more of the lights in a traditional streetlight system requiring a visit from a bucket truck crew each year.  Most LED street lights carry a 10-year warranty and will need little or no maintenance for much longer.

Case Studies

View of Minneapolis from solar panel farm at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Solar installations created a positive annual cash flow of $170,000.

Evening view of the Henderson, Nevada city hall complex lit with LED lights

City of Henderson

Electrical savings totaled more than $840,000 annually and maintenance savings totaled more than $87,000 annually with the use of LED street lights.

City of West Richland

LED street lighting and wireless controls installed through a budget-neutral project are expected to reduce annual energy consumption by 61%.

Additional Media

LED Product Sheet (PDF opens in new window)

LED Street and Area Lighting FAQ (PDF opens in new window)

Airport Improvement magazine profiles Ameresco’s Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport project (PDF opens in new window)

Public Works magazine profiles Ameresco’s West Richland LED project (PDF opens in new window)

Watch the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport video

Watch the GSA New Carrollton Federal Building video