Two Northern California cities upgrade streetlights with LED bulbs

Streetlights are a necessity in all neighborhoods, as they help community residents find their way at night and may even help deter crime in the otherwise poorly-lit areas. As important as streetlights are though, by their very nature, they are required to be kept on all night, which is a major draw on a municipality's energy use.

Some studies have shown that streetlights can account for up to 40 percent of a municipality's total energy costs, which is remarkable considering most residents are asleep and do not even benefit from them when they are on. As a result, taxpayers may be facing an unfair financial burden.

This is why an energy company is helping two Northern California cities – Dublin and Livermore – with their energy costs by embracing energy efficiency and upgrading their streetlights to use LED bulbs. This lighting alternative uses half as much power, meaning they do not need to be replaced as often, which will help save additionally on maintenance costs.

"LED lighting is the biggest advance in lighting since Thomas Edison showed off his bulb in 1879," Bill Watkins, CEO of lighting solutions provider Bridgelux, said in a press release. "But, LEDs and solid-state lighting represent more than just a technical advance. They will usher in new business models and capabilities for running our homes, businesses and cities. Lights are going to become more than just something you screw into a socket."

Many homeowners, in California and across the United States, have embraced CFL bulbs and their LED counterparts as less energy-efficient incandescent bulbs become phased out. Owners of energy-efficient homes have already realized cost savings, while more than half of Americans have said they want to use CFL and LED bulbs in their homes to promote energy efficiency.

Homeowners can contact a Washington, D.C. home inspector to perform an energy audit if they want to find other ways to slash energy costs, beyond replacing their incandescent bulbs.