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Amidst all the hubbub about tackling global warming and cultivating green energy, one subject receives little coverage: streetlights. While an important public service, streetlights are expensive to maintain and taken together, suck down a lot of energy. So when a city like Los Angeles announces that it's converting 140,000 streetlights to light emitting diodes or LEDs, and Pittsburgh states that it's considering doing the same with 40,000 lights, it's time to take notice.
LEDs are gaining traction as a great alternative to traditional lighting because they are relatively environmentally friendly, don't consume much electricity and have long life spans. They last so long -- 14 years or more in some cases -- that they can be considered "semi-permanent"
In the past, LED lights had been seen in devices like indicator lights in appliances, calculators or in large sports scoreboards. But now, many large cities around the world -- Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Tianjin, China, to name a few -- are now switching to LED Street Light. Portugal is in the midst of a massive conversion program that is expected to encompass all of its streetlights.
Advantage of LED Streetlights
Chief among the advantages of LEDs is that they have extremely long lives -- they don't have filaments that can quickly burn out -- and they don't contain toxic chemicals like mercury, unlike traditional high-pressure sodium lamps or mercury-vapor lamps. An LED light can last 100,000 hours. These lights also have reduced maintenance costs because of their long lives, and they give off less heat than other bulbs. Because they last so long, LEDs are suitable for places where replacing light bulbs is expensive, inconvenient or otherwise difficult.