LED Street Lights in NYC Have Mixed Reviews

street-lights
Gita Subramony for Zondits, March 26, 2015

New York City began replacing its 250,000 sodium-vapor street lights a few years ago as part of the city’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2030. The sodium-vapor lamps are being replaced with LEDs. The brightness of the new lights and their lack of that telltale yellow tinge have proven to be quite a change for city residents. Some have complained that the lights are too glaring or that they make the city look like, of all things, an alien strip mall. Others have applauded the change-out because it has made darkened streets and parks safer for pedestrians.

Overall, the project is slated to result in $6 million in energy cost savings and $8 million in operations and maintenance savings per year according to NYC DOT estimates. That $14 million in yearly savings (with an added safety bonus) sounds like a great trade for the other-worldly light of LEDs.

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LED Streetlights in Brooklyn Are Saving Energy but Exhausting Residents

NY Times, March 23, 2015

The future is bright on the streets of New York. For Jolanta Benal and her neighbors in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, it is far too bright.

“It feels like I’m in a strip mall in outer space,” Ms. Benal said while sitting in her house on Horace Court last week. Light from outside was spilling into the living room, around the velvet drapes she replaced her sheer curtains with. “I don’t want to come off as melodramatic, but it really is horrible,” she said.

To some residents, the new lights make it feel as though a construction or film crew is working outside all night. Others liken the lights to a prison yard, or joke about alien abductions.

Yet the lights on the street are the same as they have ever been, but for a small alteration, part of a campaign by the city to make New York greener.

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