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Posted on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

Ann Arbor officials tout latest LED street lighting project, estimate annual savings of $5,600

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor officials said today a new LED street lighting project is saving the city money and reducing the city's greenhouse gas emissions.

The city recently collaborated with DTE Energy to install 58 new LED fixtures in the neighborhood bounded by Hill Street, Packard Street, South Forest Avenue and Wells Street.

The area includes mostly University of Michigan student rental housing. Neighborhood representatives approached the city to discuss ways to improve street light quality.


LED street lights at the corner of Liberty and Division in downtown Ann Arbor on a recent snowy night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The new fixtures are expected to cut energy usage by nearly 50 percent and reduce the city’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 25,000 pounds, city officials said.

Additionally, the lower street light bill from DTE will save the city about $5,600 annually, repaying the city’s investment in four years, officials said.

“This partnership is an excellent example of how new energy efficiency technologies can save municipalities money and benefit the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and other pollution from electricity generation," Andrew Brix, the city’s energy programs manager, said in a press release.

The project was funded in part by DTE's "Your Energy Savings" program and replaced 58 conventional streetlight fixtures. LEDs can last up to 10 years without maintenance.

Ed Henderson, DTE’s manager of community lighting, said DTE is working to encourage its customers to save money and become more energy efficient. He said DTE recognizes it's important to cooperate with the city of Ann Arbor on LED solutions.

Ann Arbor officials said the city has installed more than 1,300 LED streetlights since 2006 and another 500 are planned for this summer.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

One of the best parts of AA's LED street light installations is that the technology was developed and manufactured here in Michigan by Oxford, Mich.-based Relume Technologies! <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

The facts in this article are certainly wrong. For simplicity, say that 56 lamps were installed, thus each one saves $100 per year, and with a four year payback, the cost would be $400 apiece. No way, no how. A simple LED bulb costs more than $50, and this does not even begin to address the (union-inflated) cost of installation. Ryan - please go back to the city and get the correct numbers. Then, we can lambaste the city for wasting tax dollars in a quest to look good.

Ed Kimball

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

You are overlooking the fact that the LED lights are much longer lasting than incandescent bulbs. The city will SAVE money on installation over the life of the lights. I do agree with Anne R. and Paul Wensel that the lamps should NOT be directing any light up towards the sky. That wastes light and interferes with seeing the night sky.

Paul Wensel

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

I like the idea and energy savings of the LED lights, but at least one thing is missing from the light fixtures. Where is the shield to prevent the light from going up into the sky. There should be reflectors above the lights reflecting the light down where you want it, not up to the sky where it creates an unwanted glow over the city. This unwanted glow makes it impossible to view stars and events in the sky.

Anne R.

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

I'm hoping the new lights really do aim mainly down and out, away from the night sky. The one portrayed at Liberty and Division still send a considerable amount upward. I'd like to be able to see the stars again. I hear there are many negative results from &quot;light pollution.&quot;


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

1960's wants their tree hugger mentality back.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

The savings are geat as long as Council doesn't just turn around and immediately spend them on something unneccesary.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 6:06 a.m.

I was first going to ridicule the amount of savings, however any savings is a positive step. The budget issues can't be resolved through one single reduction. Even 10 reductions are impossible. But a 1000 small reductions spread across the budget spectrum can obtain the necessary cuts needed to balance the budget. Maybe the city workers should be asked to identify potential cost savings with a small percentage of the savings going towards an incentive award. Undoubtedly this would produce a number of ideas.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 2:04 a.m.

Let us hope the same mistake isn't made that was made when A2 initially put in the LED lamps downtown. It seems that DTE was billing them at the SAME rate for about a year until some citizen noticed and pointed it out. Lack of oversight costs money. And Snopes, why you got to be such a downer? Do you have something against the spirit of the human race which represents itself as public art? Or is it just that it doesn't suit your taste and you believe everyone else should get on board with your way of thinking. I really don't understand what you are getting at. Bob Martel, yes, this IS a good return. i'm thinking the additional savings on maintenance may not have been considered initially in the cost assessment and that may be an additional return on investment. Plus these lamps tend to have less light pollution as they are primarily pointed down and do not reflect as much into the night sky. They also run silent, I find it annoying with the old sodium lamps that buzzed as they aged. Good for A2 and everybod that we should be ahead of the curve in doing such things and I hope city council continues to help build a green, sustainable city for coming generations, just as the previous generations planted many trees for us to enjoy today. Let's keep up the efforts to pass something along to the future, for our children, and their children. Forward thinking is to be applauded, not complained about.


Thu, Mar 3, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

Snoop, the money for the art project didn't come from the general fund. As Mr. Stanton has written in the past and as so many have said here, it would not be legal to spend money that came mostly from the sewer and other special funds on salaries or what not in the general fund. Beyond that, the public art program in Ann Arbor is not unique. As in many other cities and some states, people really care about public art. Seems like most Ann Arbor Voters really support it. The art fund has been out there years and the council members in favor of it continue to be reelected by huge margins.


Thu, Mar 3, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

Hey! That's terrific! At this rate it will only take a little over 178 years to pay back the general fund for the public art project. Way to go Council!

Bob Martel

Thu, Mar 3, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

Looks like this project has a 13.55% return on investment. Not bad by any standard, and that's only looking at the money.