Madrid, Spain is the next of the world's largest cities set to undergo a huge lighting upgrade, comprised of both LED lights and other more efficient technologies. The major lighting overhaul will not only save the city in annual utilities, but also in maintenance costs. The more efficient lights have a longer lifespan, requiring fewer materials each year and less money spent on labor to change them. Both factors make for huge financial savings in addition to less waste, reducing the carbon footprint of the huge, vibrant city.
As Heather Clancy, contributor to Forbes.com, explains in her article, "The project involves the retrofit of 225,000 lights with energy-efficient lamps... That's about 10,000 more than the massive overhaul in Los Angeles, which has cost an estimated $57 million over the past five years, but it's about 250,000 less than what's planned for New York City by 2017."
In addition to the new and efficient lighting technologies being installed, the city also plans to incorporate controls that will better be able to monitor electricity usage. This will help them to more accurately adjust lighting levels based on need, cutting back greatly on wasted electricity. In combination with the lighting retrofit, the project is expected to save Spain's capitol city about 44% in energy consumption. Additionally, thanks to an energy savings contract, those savings will be able to pay for the project long-term, which is being financed in the mean time.
Spain is by no means the first major city to perform such a lighting upgrade, as referenced earlier in cities such as Los Angeles and the future project in NYC, but also many more worldwide. Navigant Research estimates that by 2017, there could be as many as 17 million LED streetlights around the globe. As if the reduction in utility and maintenance cost, in collaboration with decreases in wasted energy and carbon pollution were not enough, citizens of these cities are benefiting from brighter, safer streets by means of the LED lights.
These before and after shots, from Ucilia Wang's Forbes.com article, show just how big of a difference LED lighting made to the streets of Los Angeles: