City Light's Craig Reid installs Ballard's first LED streetlight July 7 outside the Ballard Library.
City installs first LED streetlight in Ballard
Though the cloudless, sunny skies made the overall effect a little less dramatic, Ballard's first LED streetlight was installed and turned on by City Light's Craig Reid outside the Ballard Library July 7.
The installation of the LED streetlight marks the first conversion of an old sodium streetlight not as part of a City Light pilot project. In the coming weeks, City Light will convert the approximately 5,000 residential streetlights from the Ship Canal to Northwest 65th Street.
The city hopes the LED streetlights will save the city money and energy.
"This is really a great program," Mayor Mike McGinn said during the ceremonial installation. "We're leading the country in this effort."
City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said LED streetlights mean better and longer-lasting lighting at less cost.
Whereas sodium streetlights burn out every three to four years, LED lights last for 12 years, after which they dim instead of burning out completely, Edward Smalley, manager of streetlight engineering for City Light, told the Ballard District Council during a May 12 presentation.
LED streetlights consume 40 percent less energy, Carrasco said.
"It's environmentally the right thing to do," McGinn said.
Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell said the light that comes from LED streetlights is akin to white moonlight instead of sodium streetlights' yellow light.
The difference in light will increase neighborhood safety, McGinn said. For example, the white light makes it easier for police and witnesses to correctly identify the color of a vehicle, he said.
During pilot projects in South Park and Capitol Hill, there was an extremely positive reaction from residents, Harrell said.
During the next five years, City Light will be converting 40,000 residential streetlights – approximately half of the city's total – to LED technology, Carrasco said.
Once those 40,000 streetlights are converted, the city will save approximately $2.5 million per year, he said.
The switchover is being funded through federal stimulus grants and City Light.