The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium recently published guidelines for converting to LED roadway lighting. The Model Specification for LED Roadway Luminaires is for cities, utilities, and other local agencies interested in saving money and energy by switching from traditional lighting technologies to solid-state lighting (SSL), which uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of filaments or gases.
Ranking among the biggest fixed costs for cities, streetlights are on all night long, 365 days a year. The estimated 35 million streetlights in the U.S. consume as much electricity each year as 3.9 million households, and generate greenhouse gas emissions equal to that produced by 8 million cars.
“Converting our nation’s streetlights to LED technology could make a substantial dent in our energy consumption while also improving quality of illumination – but only if the right choices are made,” said Consortium Director Edward Smalley of Seattle City Light. “The new specification will help cities, utilities, and others make better choices.”
The model specification is designed specifically for LED lighting products, which have the added benefit of reducing maintenance costs while improving visibility and customer service. The flexible format allows guideline users to modify default values to fit their local design criteria – which can vary from city to city, and even from application to application within a given city.
Consortium members and nonmembers will be able to use the new specification to put together effective bid documents for LED street lighting products. It also will help guide the industry and provide a common basis for manufacturers to design products that meet their customers’ needs.
DOE created the Consortium last year to inform and harmonize the efforts of the many cities that are pursuing evaluations of LED street lighting products, often spurred on by block grants and energy mandates. The model specification was developed by Consortium members, with feedback from a manufacturers’ working group that included Acuity Brands, BetaLED/Ruud Lighting, Cooper, GE Lighting Solutions, Hubbell, LED Roadway Lighting, Leotek, Lighting Science Group, OSRAM Sylvania, Philips Roadway Lighting, and Philips Lumileds. Their input helps ensure that RFPs based on the specification will result in submissions from multiple manufacturers.
The specification is available with two different user-selectable options to accommodate the different preferences commonly found between municipalities and utilities. The System Specification option is designed to maximize application efficiency, and characterizes luminaire performance by incorporating site characteristics such as mounting height, pole spacing, and number of lanes. The Material Specification option emphasizes luminaire efficiency, which characterizes luminaire performance without consideration of site characteristics.
A “living document” that will be adapted as needed, the model specification will be followed by a supplemental design guide at a later date, and is expected to have a wide national impact for end users looking for best practices in specifying LED streetlights.
To learn more about the Consortium, visit the consortium website.