March 5, 2019

Mayor Emanuel Announces Chicago Streetlight Modernization Program Reaches Major Milestone With 100,000 Lights Installed

Chicago Smart Lighting Program is on Pace for Completion in Four Years; Projected to Save Taxpayers More Than $100 Million Over 10 Years
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced Chicago’s streetlight modernization program has reached a major milestone, with the installation of more than 100,000 new LED streetlights since the program was launched in September 2017. The Chicago Smart Lighting Program (CSLP) is now 37 percent complete and on schedule for completion within four years. The City projects Chicago’s taxpayers will save more than $100 million thanks to the energy efficiency of the new streetlights.

“The smart lighting program is moving across the City at a steady pace. With more than 100,000 new streetlights installed, we are improving nighttime visibility and making Chicago a greener, more efficient City,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By converting our streetlights to LED technology, we are modernizing Chicago’s infrastructure, creating new jobs and saving taxpayers more than $100 million over the next decade. Once the new smart lighting system is operational, we will also be notified when lights go out – and this will eliminate the need for residents to call 311 to report outages.” 

In addition to cutting streetlight electricity costs by more than half, the modernization is earning the City energy efficiency rebates from ComEd for replacing outdated High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights with modern, LED fixtures. At an event to celebrate the 100,000 streetlight milestone, officials from ComEd presented Mayor Emanuel with a ceremonial check for $12 million, the amount of rebates received to date. An additional $6 million in rebates have been applied and are pending this year. The City expects the rebates to total $35 million over the four-year program. The City has also achieved $1.8 million in energy cost savings to date through the program.

The modernization is being implemented by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in coordination with the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) and the Department of Innovation and Technology. It will replace 270,000 of Chicago’s street, alley and viaduct lights (85 percent of the City’s streetlights) with high-quality LED fixtures. Chicago is also installing a citywide lighting management system for the new LED lights. When it becomes operational, the system will alert the City when lights need service. The public is advised to continue to call or text 311 to report outages until the smart lighting system is operational.

Streetlight fixture replacements in the first year and a half of the program 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. With the installation of new LED lights on major arterial routes, the program reached all 50 wards as of last summer.

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 designed to project light downward where it is needed on streets and sidewalks, not into the night sky.

“The installations of new LED lights are moving quickly across the City and we are very pleased to have reached the significant milestone of 100,000 new lights installed, which means we are more than one-third of the way through the project,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “The project is on schedule for completion within four years and we are making steady progress toward our goal of providing clearer, more reliable and energy efficient lighting in every Chicago neighborhood.”

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.

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