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Mayor Walsh Accelerates City's LED Streetlight Retrofit Program

October 21, 2014

Public Works

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Public Works

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the Public Works Department (PWD) has retrofitted 38,838 of its 64,000 streetlights to Light-emitting Diode (LED) technology, which use less energy, last longer, and provide better lighting for Boston’s streets as of September 26, 2014. These retrofits are saving the City an estimated $4.25 million each year in energy costs. The program also takes advantage of financial rebates provided by NSTAR. 

“By retrofitting our streetlights to LEDs, we are saving taxpayer dollars and helping reach our climate goals,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This program demonstrates that the City of Boston is leading by example on climate action.” 

“The new LED lights shining down on Boston’s historic streets will provide better lighting while using about 70 percent percent less energy," said Tilak Subrahmanian, Vice President of Energy Efficiency for Northeast Utilities, NSTAR's parent company. “We’re pleased to be a part of making Boston a brighter, more energy efficient city.” 

The City has received $7.1 million in rebates thus far from NSTAR to complete these retrofits. The new LED streetlights have reduced electricity use by approximately 29 million kWh since the program started in 2010, saving the City roughly $4.25 million per year. This is enough electricity to power roughly 4,000 homes and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 20,226 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. These annual savings will continue to grow as Boston completes more and more streetlight conversions. 

"The LED streetlight conversion program is an important part of the City’s efforts to reduce municipal greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open space. “It also demonstrates how environmental initiatives make economic sense as well.” 

During the month of September PWD accelerated its install pace, and as of September 26 PWD had completed 7,161 LED retrofits. PWD has a goal of retrofitting 8,000 streetlights this calendar year, and in order to achieve that goal, crews must average 154 retrofits per week. The department is currently on track, averaging 188 retrofits per week. During the week ending August 22, PWD retrofitted a record-breaking 373 streetlights. Under a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and NStar, the City will get an enhanced incentive from NStar for every retrofit over 8,000.   
“I am pleased at the pace in which my team has moved through these conversions this summer,” said Michael Dennehy, Public Works Commissioner. “LED streetlights not only save money on electricity, but last longer than sodium bulbs, freeing up Public Works crews to attend to other issues across the city.” 

The program began in 2010 with $395,000 in grant funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In addition to the NSTAR rebates, the City has invested $10,668,560 in the retrofits thus far from General Obligation Bonds.