The City of Chicago is aggressively moving towards a more energy efficient future. The city plans to change out 85% of all of its current public outdoor lights and replace them with LED lights. While the Emanuel administration previously detailed the more than 348,000 lights included in the plan, a mayoral trust is now officially requesting proposals.
Called the Smart Lighting Project, the plan is aimed at making the city’s street lights more reliable and making the city’s energy usage more efficient. While many city lights were installed during the 1970s, some of the electrical wiring and poles have been in place since the 1950s.
LEDs use less electricity, plus the bulbs are said to last longer than the current high-pressure sodium lights. The city has monitored the benefits of LED lights since 2011 when they were installed along Western Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. It’s expected that the money the city saves from operating more efficiently will fund the program. According to City Hall the aim is to improve public safety, too, by significantly cutting down on service interruptions.