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LED streetlights Save Millions For Cities but People Hate Them

LED streetlights are spreading like wildfire in cities as municipal governments take advantage of the cost savings offered by these energy efficient bulbs.


Should The City of Buckeye convert all the streetlights to LEDs now and save money for the future? Would a blue hue bother you?

This conversion from conventional street lighting to LED technology has been rapid with approximately 10 percent of existing U.S. street lighting now using solid-state LED technology.

Though popular with city officials, the lights are a source of angst for residents who dislike the blue light they emit, experience nighttime glare from the lights, and are concerned about potential adverse effects on human and wildlife behavior.


led streetlights


The problem with the current generation of LED lights is their bluish hue.

Indoor LEDs are manufactured with a layer of phosphor that absorbs the blue light and re-emit the light with a white/yellow hue that is pleasing to the eye. The relative shade of blue depends on the LED being used and the amount of phosphor inside the bulb. To maximize efficiency, the outdoors lights maintain a low color temperature of 4,500 to 6,500 K, giving the LED lights their bluish tinge. These blue-tinged LEDs are the cheapest LEDs to manufacture and operate. They also are brighter than their incandescent counterparts.

The cost savings of the blue-light LEDs is significant.

It is estimated that street-level lighting by municipalities accounts for 30 percent of all the energy used to generate electricity for outdoor lighting, while another 60 percent of outdoor lighting costs goes toward lighting parking lots and garages. Cities that are making the changeover to LED lighting are reaping the benefits. Los Angeles, for example, installed 150,000 LED streetlights with an anticipated goal of saving $8 million a year in lighting costs, while New York City hopes to recoup $14 million a year through its conversion of 250,000 streetlights to LEDs.

This LED streetlights may help the bottom line, but among the chief concerns with LED lights is their effect on the human sleep cycle.

The wavelength of blue emitted by these efficient bulbs has been shown to adversely affect the production of melatonin. This reduction in melatonin can then impact a person’s natural circadian rhythm which eventually leads to poor sleep quality, excessive tiredness, and obesity. Studies suggest the negative effect of LEDs on sleep is five times greater than that of conventional streetlights.

led streetlights

These detrimental effects also are seen in nocturnal animals such as bats and certain species of birds and insects, which require a dark environment at night to thrive.

A high-profile example is the sea turtle, which is attracted to the bluish lights used at coastal resorts. Instead of scrambling to the safety of the ocean after birth, small sea turtles are often found wandering to the blue lights emitted by hotel parking lights, The effect of blue light is so pronounced in humans and other animals that both the AMA and the U.S. National Park Service are recommending shielding and other precautionary practices that limit the exposure to this form of light.


led streetlights


This blue color contrasts with indoor LED lights, which have color temperatures of 2,700 to 3,000 K and are closer to the color of an ordinary incandescent light, and are pleasing to the eye, These indoor light give up some of their efficiency to achieve this more natural hue. Homeowners generally don’t mind paying the extra money for the nicer light since they are surrounded by the lights all the time.


Source: Led Lights Save Millions, but People Hate Them