Energy-Efficient Traffic Signals and Streetlights

The use of energy efficient traffic signals, streetlights and other outdoor area lighting presents a significant opportunity for local governments to lower energy bills and improve the quality of lighting service. The electricity used for outdoor area lighting accounts for a significant portion of a local government's energy bill. Streetlights alone can represent from 5 percent to over 60 percent of a municipal government's energy expenditures.

This page includes resources and funding opportunities available to local governments in the region who are seeking to retrofit traffic signals, streetlights, and other outdoor area lighting with more energy efficient technology. DVRPC has developed tools and resources to assist local governments in analyzing the costs and benefits of these types of retrofits. DVRPC's tools and additional resources are provided below.

General project resources available from DVRPC

Energy Efficient Traffic Signals and Streetlights Municipal Implementation Tool (MIT)

This short, easy to read booklet provides an overview of the key opportunities for streetlight and traffic signal retrofits, and provides information on where to go for additional resources and funding opportunities.

Outdoor lighting analysis tools

DVRPC has developed a series of tools to help local governments assess the energy and maintenance costs associated with existing technology and analyze the costs and savings associated with retrofit scenarios. For more information on these tools, please contact Rob Graff at 215.238.2826.

LED Traffic Signals

LED traffic signal lamps typically use 80 to 90 percent less energy than the incandescent lamps that they replace and the longer life expectancies of LED traffic signal lamps can reduce maintenance costs over incandescent technology by approximately 75 percent, making the payback of a retrofit project as short as one to three years. All municipalities will eventually have to switch to LED traffic signal bulbs. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires all traffic signal fixtures to meet ENERGY STAR (2003) power requirements, effectively requiring the use of LED lamps in all traffic signal heads going forward. More information on the benefits of LED traffic signals and project resources is provided below.

One page overview of benefits of LED Traffic Signal Retrofit projects [.pdf]

Rebates for Energy Efficient Traffic Signals available through PECO Smart Ideas

In compliance with Pennsylvania's Act 129, PECO, the primary electric distribution company for southeastern Pennsylvania, has launched its "Smart Ideas" program that provides rebates and cash incentives for installing electric energy-efficiency measures. The "Smart Equipment Incentives" portion of the program includes rebates for energy efficient traffic signals and streetlights. For a listing of these rebates and an application form, please visit the PECO Smart Ideas - Equipment Incentives webpage (Scroll down to the section headed "FOR GOVERNMENT, INSTITUTIONS & NON-PROFIT").

Bulk purchase of traffic signal equipment is available through Pennsylvania's cooperative purchasing program, COSTARS. Local governments purchasing through this program have had success negotiating the contract price with the COSTARS vendor to lower the cost.

Snow accumulation: To alleviate snow accumulation on LED traffic signal equipment, some municipalities have installed snow visor equipment. Most note that snow accumulation is a minor issue. Snow visor equipment specification example [.pdf]

Case Study: Abington Township (Montgomery County, PA) [.pdf]: Between 2000 and 2002, Abington Township (Montgomery County, Pennsylvania) replaced all of its incandescent traffic and pedestrian signals with LEDs. The new signals reduced the township's annual traffic signal energy expenditure by 90%. Additionally, the LEDs' lower energy use saved 934 MWh of power and reduced the township's GHG emissions by 495 tons per year.)

Additional project resources for LED traffic signal retrofits

Energy Efficient Streetlights

Municipalities can save significant operating costs and enhance the quality of street lighting service with an energy-efficient street lighting project. Emerging technologies are available today that are more energy efficient, result in improved lighting quality and visibility and provide reduced maintenance costs over incumbent technology. The resources below provide information on these emerging technologies. Contact DVRPC for information on our Streetlight Analysis Tool to evaluate a particular project in your municipality.

Clinton Climate Initiative's (CCI) Outdoor Lighting Program (OLP): Resources for Energy Efficient Streetlights. The CCI OLP has worked with cities around the world to improve the energy efficiency of street and traffic light systems by advising on project management, purchasing, financing, and technology. They are an excellent resource for the latest information on all types of energy efficient street lighting technology.

U.S. Department of Energy Solid State Lighting webpage and programs Provides unbiased industry tested information on LED lighting technology across all applications, including streetlights.

  • U.S. DOE Solid-State Lighting: Outdoor Area Lighting webpage for up-to-date information on the basics of LED lighting technology for outdoor area applications.
  • U.S. DOE Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium collects, analyzes, and shares technical information and experiences related to LED street and area lighting demonstrations. The Consortium will also provide an objective resource for evaluating new products on the market intended for street lighting applications.
  • U.S. DOE CALiPER Program provides independent laboratory assessments of LED lighting products to verify manufacturer performance claims.
  • U.S. DOE Gateway Demonstration Program is an independent pilot test evaluation program funded by DOE and executed by Pacific Northwest National Lab. DOE GATEWAY Demonstrations showcase high-performance LED products in a variety of commercial and residential applications. Demonstration results provide real-world experience and data on product performance and cost effectiveness. DOE shares the results of completed GATEWAY demonstration projects in reports that include analysis of data collected, projected energy savings, payback analysis, and user feedback.

Case studies of LED streetlights around the country:

Materials from January 22, 2010 Meeting

Materials in Resource Package distributed at January 22, 2010 Meeting

Resources discussed at the meeting

Snow visor equipment specifications from Megan Epler, SEDA-COG [.pdf]

For assistance with identifying Disadvantaged Business Enterprises please contact:

The Pennsylvania Minority Business Enterprise Center
Jacqueline Hill - Director
215-895-4032 (p)

From PennDOT:

Street lighting resources from the Clinton Climate Initiative:

EECBG Guidance