March 12, 2005

An idea for free

Since municipalities in the area are under a budget crunch (when are they not?) any forward looking effort to save money should be considered. The Dope has come across an interesting prospect that fits the bill.

LED lights are the future. That's a given. They burn cool, they can emit an almost limitless variety of light and colors, they last almost forever, are very low voltage, low current devices and use much, much less electricity.

One ingenious application is LED traffic signals. Many towns and cities have already begun converting their traffic lights to LEDs and are positioned to realize great savings over conventional lights.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was giving grants to municipalities to promote the use of this technology, but unfortunately, the deadline was March 1. Several utility companies across the country are offering attractive incentives to towns who use LEDS as well.

A typical traffic signal draws between 67 and 150 watts per bulb, with red drawing the most and green and yellow requiring less. The average traffic signal consumes 990 kilowatts per year.

Red LED traffic lights draw only 10 to 15 watts, consuming 90% less energy than the current red incandescent lamps.

Since this is the case, one alternative to going all LED is to only replace the red lamps. Red LED lamps are falling in price to slightly over $100 a piece, but due to various factors, green LED signal lamps run between 2.5 and 5 times more.

As utility costs continue to rise at a steep rate, beginning the process of installing super-efficient LED signal lights should be investigated.


At 3/14/2005 10:55 PM, Anonymous Peter Frampton said...

Man 0h Man, Dope, this is what any candidate for public office -- especially in the Moline Mayor's race -- should be talking about.


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