Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the latest major milestone in Chicago’s streetlight modernization program. To date more than 42,000 new streetlight fixtures have been installed. All alley, residential, and arterial streets within the West Side priority area have been completed. Crews will now shift to converting the residential streetlights and alley lights within the South Side priority area. Additionally, Chicago’s taxpayers will save more than $100 million thanks to the energy efficiency of the modern streetlights.
“The Smart Lighting Project is great for Chicago’s environment, our neighborhoods, and our budget,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By converting our city’s streetlights to LED we are modernizing Chicago’s infrastructure, creating new jobs and saving taxpayers more than $100 million over the next decade.”
The City expects to cut its streetlight electricity costs by more than half through the modernization, yielding savings of approximately $100 million over 10 years. In addition, through ComEd’s energy efficiency incentive efforts, the City will earn ComEd rebates that subsidize the cost of converting outdated High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights to LED technology. These rebates are projected to total $35 million.
The 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 high-quality LED fixtures during its four-year timeframe. Chicago is also installing a citywide lighting management system for the new LED lights. When it becomes operational later this year, the system will alert the City when lights need service.
Streetlight fixture replacements in the first year have been focused in South and West Side neighborhoods with heightened public safety concerns, allowing those communities to quickly reap the benefits of higher quality, more reliable lighting. In addition, by the end of this summer, the new lights will be installed on more than a dozen major arterial routes across the city.
The City has created a website (http://chicagosmartlighting.org) where Chicagoans can track the progress of the program.
The new lights, which are owned and operated by the City, will consume 50-75 percent less electricity than HPS lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that will offset the cost of the modernization. LED fixtures also last two-to-three times longer than HPS 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, not into the night sky.
The program was procured by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) in coordination with CDOT and the Department of Innovation and Technology (DOIT). The CIT is dedicated to assisting the City in executing large-scale and complex public projects efficiently and economically.
“The installations of new LED lights are moving quickly across the City, and we are now shifting our crews back to the South Side to continue the work that we started there last fall,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “We are moving steadily toward or goal of providing clearer, more reliable and energy efficient lighting in every Chicago neighborhood.”
“This project demonstrates how the expertise of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust can drive community investments that provide a maximum return for City residents and improve the quality of life in Chicago’s neighborhoods,” Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers said. “We look forward to continuing our work on initiatives like that that will create equitable economic development in our neighborhoods in the years to come.”
The City of Chicago has contracted with a team led by Ameresco Inc., a national leader in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, to implement the program. The City made it a priority to ensure that the selected vendor relies on a diverse lineup of subcontractors and that City residents will have access to the jobs created through the Smart Lighting Project.