LED Street Lights: Coming Near You

Discussion in 'The Bucket' started by Matt Rogers, Aug 12, 2014.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    In much the same way that LEDs have taken over aquariums, they are now taking over the streets. Street lights that is. In just one day this summer, I witnessed a small crew swap out all the street lamps on my block. That night, we thought it was a full moon from our porch, but then realized it was the shine from our new LED street lamp.

    [​IMG]

    Our city is part of the Bay Area Climate Collaborative Next Generation Streetlight Initiative. Earlier this year, they approved a project to upgrade 8000 street lights to LEDs by the end of the year at a cost of $3,000,000. This cost will be off-set by an estimated annual savings of $400k in energy costs, a 50% savings in C02 emissions and 7% of the city's total emissions.

    [​IMG]

    Partners in this effort include familiar names such as CREE and Bridelux. Looking into their street lamp models, I found that the price for an entire 'cobra head' LED fixture was surprisingly cheap - as low as $99 for a CREE version.

    The LEOTEK EC ECobra-head™ LED Street Light

    Intrigued I decided to get a closer look at the light on my street. Not being a climber, I solidified my 'weird neighbor' persona by standing out on the street with my boat binoculars. This was tough work. Try reading a label at 90 feet away sometime. With some effort, I managed to read the brand name - LEOTEK. A quick search led to the model: a LEOTEK EC ECobra-head™ LED Street Light:

    [​IMG]

    These lamps can kick out 24000 lumens for the 30 LED model. And we have the 42 LED version - thus explaining the full moon effect I mentioned. See attachments for more information on the LEOTEK models.


    So what are LED street lights like?

    Well they are bright. More visibility was a selling point and there is certainly more coverage below. And it is not just the lumens, in fact, what makes them so bright to me is the spectrum. Gone is the familiar yellow spectrum of traditional HPS street lights. The new spectrum is white with almost a bluish tint. The affect is a bit troubling for me. I am not used to it. The traditional yellow light was warm to me. The white light (most are 4000k) is a bit harsh - like someone left the bathroom florescent lights on outside.

    And later I discovered the most disturbing aspect of the LED street lights - the shadows they cast. They are simply unnatural. After some thought I realized this is due to the un-defused points of light cast from the 6 LED clusters. The lamps on my block do not have a diffusing lens and the six points from the LED clusters hit trees at different angles, causing the effect below.

    [​IMG]

    It appears I may not be the only one on our block disturbed by these lights. The one closest to our house went out after just a week. (NOT ME!) And one down the street was discovered to be out tonight as well. Either there is a quality control issue going on here or public opinion has weighed in on the subject.

    For the long term, I think I'll share my shadow pictures with the city government and inquire about the optional shield lens I noted in the LEOTEK product sheet that can be installed without tools. The shield might not reduce energy costs, but it sure might reduce repair bills on my block.

    matt



    More:
    http://cltc.ucdavis.edu/article/berkeley-begins-led-streetlight-project
    http://www.baclimate.org/impact/next-generation-streetlight-initiative.html
    http://www.baclimate.org/images/stories/actionareas/ledstreetlights/nextgen_streetlight_guide.pdf
    http://www.baclimate.org/images/stories/actionareas/ledstreetlights/public engagement for led streetlights v11.pdf
    http://www.cree.com/News-and-Events/Cree-News/Press-Releases/2013/August/XSPR
    http://www.cityofberkeley.info/uploadedFiles/Public_Works/Level_3_-_Sidewalks,_Streets_-_Utility/City of Berkeley LED Street Light Installation Plan Overview.pdf
    http://www.cityofberkeley.info/streetlights/
    http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Clerk/...14-04-01_Item_08_Contract_Tanko_Lighting.aspx
    http://www.leotek.com
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
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  3. Caspian

    Caspian Coral Banded Shrimp

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    They put in LED lamps up in Woodland a few years ago, They were very strange at first especially since the ones we have cast light strait down instead of out in an aura like the traditional lamps they replaced. While they are super bright and light up the area they DO light up. the rest of the street feels dark and in the shadows. I'll grab some pics on my night off to give you a feel of it. So far none of them have gone out. Maybe we got a different brand?


    Of course I need to wait for the moon to not fill the sky with light before I can get any pictures.
     
  4. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I noticed some on the freeway interchange I use to go to work.
     
  5. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

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    There have been talks about switching to LEDs because of how they emit a more white, natural light, as opposed to that yellowy-orange light from traditional lights. The LEDs will make it easier to get an accurate description for crime reports (what color car, clothing, etc) due to the fact that the traditional lights make things look yellow.

    Haven't changed anything by us yet though.

    Wonder if these can be used over a reef tank? ;)
     
  6. Pickupman66

    Pickupman66 Tassled File Fish

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    Very interesting. I have actually been looking at purchasing some LED security lights.
     
  7. gcarroll

    gcarroll Zoanthid

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    Really cool Matt. Seems like the city got a great deal as well. $375/fixture with that output is amazing. The break even point is 7.5 years and the fact is, they have a 10 year warranty. Wonder why noe of the aquarium LED manufacturers don't give a 10 year warrantee.

    Downside is, if the lights start to fail at a high rate, they will probably bankrupt the US branch of the company and reopen under a new name. So I guess the 10 year warranty is not really guaranteed.
     
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  9. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

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    Would this have to do with operating around saltwater, and how long our lights are run for? My LEDs are only guaranteed to run for 3-5 years and the actual guarantee was only for a year.
     
  10. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Thanks all. It's been a strange event that I became obsessed with as you can tell from my research links I posted. :)

    Look forward to seeing those pics Caspian. There are a few others I will post soon as well.
     
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  11. RoloSaez

    RoloSaez Millepora

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    They are doing a lot of the 7-Elleven stores around here. One store had one flashing in a strobe fashion which makes it weird getting gas in the late hours. They finally fixed it.
     
  12. nc208082

    nc208082 Zoanthid

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    I think they are offering the 10 year guarantee to help convince the buyer of these. If all cities in the US adopt to this technology this could lead to billions of dollars in sales.(way more than the aquarium indsutry can provide). They probably factor in the replacement cost into their pricing strategy and designed these lights to be modular I.e a simple LED board comes out and a new one can be thrown in.
     
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