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Chicago installs over 76,000 LED smart street fixtures in one year


The city’s smart lighting initiative stipulates the replacement of 270,000 lights across Chicago

Chicago has already installed over 76,000 new LED smart streetlight fixtures in each of the city’s 50 wards in the first year of the city’s smart lighting program. Progress so far on the projects puts Chicago tenth in the list of the biggest smart-city lighting deployments.

The four-year modernization program is being implemented by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and will replace 270,000 of Chicago’s street, alley and viaduct lights with LED fixtures.

Chicago is also installing a citywide lighting management system for the new LED lights. Once fully operational, the system will alert the city when lights need service.

“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 modernizing our city’s streetlights, we are improving night-time visibility, creating new jobs and saving taxpayers more than $100 million over the next decade.”

By switching to LED streetlights, Chicago expects to cut its streetlight electricity costs by more than half, yielding savings of approximately $100 million over 10 years. Utility savings from the first year of the program are estimated to be up to $1 million.

The new lights, which are owned and operated by the City of Chicago, consume 50-75% less electricity than HPS lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that will offset the cost of the modernization project.

LED fixtures also last two- to-three times longer than High Pressure Sodium 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.

The program was procured by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) in coordination with CDOT and the Department of Innovation and Technology (DOIT).

“We are very pleased with the progress we have achieved in the first year of the Chicago Smart Lighting Program,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “Our goal is to provide clearer, more reliable streetlights for every Chicago neighborhood and deliver significant savings for the taxpayers.”

“This project demonstrates how the Chicago Infrastructure Trust can drive community investments that benefit the city’s residents and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers said. “We look forward to continuing our work on much needed public infrastructure initiatives that will create equitable economic development in our neighborhoods for years to come.”

The smart lighting program is being carried out by a team led by Ameresco, a company which specializes in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

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