All streetlights in Vancouver to be converted into energy-efficient white LED

Jul 19 2019, 2:57 pm

Planning staff with the City of Vancouver say they have seen great success with the initial introduction of white-coloured LED lights in key street areas, and now there are plans to introduce this to the rest of the city’s streetscape.

See also

In a report, city staff state the replacement of existing streetlights that currently contain high-pressure sodium luminaires (HPS) with LED lights will occur over the next three to five years through rehabilitation, capital, and development projects.

HPS lights are known to emit an orange-coloured amber glow, while LED lights give off a white-coloured output that appears brighter by rendering surface colours more accurately to the human eye. LED lights are proposed to become the new standard in the Street and Public Realm Lighting Design Guidelines.

Since a previous city council decision in 2015, the municipal government has installed LED street lights at 125 signal-controlled intersections. The results at these locations have been highly positive, with the city reporting a 21% reduction in collisions and 65% reduction in traffic-related fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians.

Intersection of Cambie Street and West Broadway with LED lights. (City of Vancouver)

Intersection of Cambie Street and West Broadway with LED lights. (City of Vancouver)

The city also installed LED lights on the Burrard Bridge and Point Grey Seaside Greenway as part of recent improvement projects, and the next priority areas for LEDs are expected to be additional intersections.

“Outdoor lighting is an integral part of urban life — it helps make our roadways and pedestrian pathways safe, it enhances our public spaces, and it allows us to enjoy our city at night in ways that would otherwise be impossible,” reads the report.

“Studies have shown that good lighting is particularly important for women and vulnerable populations, especially those who travel to or from work during non-daylight hours. From an equity perspective, outdoor lighting is an important, though often overlooked, consideration. In general, outdoor lighting is arguably one of the most important features of any community.”

LED lights on a pedestrian pathway (left) and HPS lights (right) at the south end of the Cambie Street Bridge. (City of Vancouver)

LED lights on a pedestrian pathway (left) and HPS lights (right) at the south end of the Cambie Street Bridge. (City of Vancouver)

Studies also show cities that have completed an LED transition of streetlights see a 50% reduction in electricity costs, plus “substantial” greenhouse gas emissions reductions. A transition of Vancouver’s streetlights to LED is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by about 200 metric tonnes of CO2 annually.

As well, LED lights have a longer lifespan and greater reliability than HPS, resulting in lower maintenance and replacement costs.

The municipal government acknowledges LED streetlights are becoming the new norm across North America, including Burnaby, Surrey, and Victoria.

City staff are seeking council’s permission to accelerate the transition to LED and report back on a phased implementation strategy. There are approximately 55,000 lights on city-owned roadways, pedestrian and recreational paths, laneways, and public spaces.

Additionally, city staff are proposing new policies that promote responsible outdoor lighting practices on private property.

City council is expected to approve the staff recommendations in a meeting next week.

white LED

Before and after of a Los Angeles street with HPS lights (left) and LED lights (right). (City of Vancouver)

See also