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Reduce carbon emissions, taxes, and the trade deficit -- eliminate street and highway lighting

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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 10:04 AM
Original message
Reduce carbon emissions, taxes, and the trade deficit -- eliminate street and highway lighting
If you look out of an airplane window when approaching any metro area, you can't help but be struck by the millions of kilowatt hours of energy being used to light up the landscape below.

In the past, it could be argued that street lighting was inexpensive, since it was done at night using otherwise idle generating capacity, and therefore cost only the relatively inexpensive fuel used for generation.

The situation has changed. Now we recognize that beyond the immediate expense of the fuel, we are incurring the added cost to the environment due to carbon dioxide emissions. And the expense of the fuel is not reckoned only in the taxes paid to support lighting, but it adversely affects our dependence on foreign supplies of crude oil and our balance of payments.

New lighting technologies are now avaiilable in the form of better auto headlights, rechargeable LED flashlights, and low cost fixtures for providing private outdoor security and safety lighting.

High-intensity lights on tall poles, burning throughout the night are no longer needed. They are a waste of dollars and fuel, and a source of pollutant and carbon emissions that can be done without.
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Richard D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
1. And a side benefit . . .
. . . would be the ability to see those things in the sky . . .what are they called again . . . oh yeah, stars.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
2. LED street lighting pilot project reduces energy use by 80%
Summary

In 2005, Ann Arbor established a moratorium on new street lighting aimed at helping keep costs under control. As part of this cost cutting initiative, the City began trialing LEDs for general lighting purposes. LEDs reduce lighting energy requirements by 50% or more, but their greatest benefit is that they last much longer than conventional bulbs, reducing labor and maintenance costs. In Ann Arbor, this will translate to annual CO2 reductions of 2,200 tonnes and annual savings of @$100 per fixture.

http://www.c40cities.org/bestpractices/lighting/annarbo...



But they could save another 2,200 tonnes of annual CO2 emissions and even more money by eliminating street lighting altogether.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
3. Very few lights where I live, and I like it that way.
Of course, with the housing tracts eating up rural land by the day, the light pollution is increasing.

Around here, there are security lights on barns and houses; without them, it is so completely black you couldn't see your way to the door. My mom keeps hers on motion detectors so that they only come on when someone approaches.

The night sky is incredible here.
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ljm2002 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
4. I think that's a great idea...
...removing them altogether, that is.

I have in fact suggested this in the past, but not in regards to energy usage. Rather, I thought that lighting up the street all night, instead of making it more safe, actually makes it easier for criminals to do what they do at night, because they have the light to see by, and they don't have to carry their own lights to draw attention to themselves.

Of course my suggestion was met with utter ridicule by my friends, who simply knew that streets lighted at night were safer, and would brook no argument on that point.

Well whatever. Your point is a more salient one anyway, it is yet another way in which we waste vast amounts of energy, and it's about time we figured out some alternative. I'm guessing that the alternative will be LEDs in general, because people will not go for no lights at all.
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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Then, take it a step farther: to Solar-Powered LED Lightimg
take it down to No Cost

I moved to Las Vegas in 1985 (only for about a year)

Now there's a town that needs LED lighting!
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ljm2002 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Yes, that is the sensible answer all right...
...therefore there is little if any chance it will happen.

(slaps self) -- enough defeatist thinking!

Sorry. Yes Las Vegas and all of Southern Nevada should be subsidizing a massive switchover to solar power for all kinds of uses. As it is, everyone here with a pool uses solar to heat it, so that is one good thing. But one of my pet peeves, is that all of the new housing developments built here over the last 20 years, yet none of them include solar. That is insane. If I, an individual homeowner, wanted to install solar panels to handle most of my energy needs (probably would not be enought for AC in the summer, so I'm told), it would cost upwards of $10K. And that takes awhile to pay for itself, so homeowners are not exactly busting down the doors to get these items. If, on the other hand, the developers added solar on every home in the development, it would not cost them nearly as much, would not add much to the cost of the new home, and the homes could be promoted as lower cost of ownership overall.

(slaps self) -- dreamin' again...
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Doctor Cynic Donating Member (965 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
6. We should fit highway lights with motion sensors
At night the highways are empty most of the time, so the lights should only be on when someone is passing by. This will also reduce the energy consumed by a large amount.
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TheMightyFavog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. Oh, yes, wonderful idea!
I like the idea of increased crime and increased traffic accidents.
:sarcasm:

However, replacing existing streetlight bulbs with LEDs, that's actually a good idea.
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ljm2002 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. While there may indeed be a safety issue...
...I'd like to see stats on how night lights reduce crime. I don't buy it. Admittedly I do not myself have numbers -- but as far as I can tell, it's just some sort of received wisdom that street lights at night reduce criminal activity.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Street and highway lighting doesn't decrease crime or accidents
It actually increases driver fatigue because your eyes have to constantly adjust to the changing light levels as you go from dark to lit areas. Also, the light causes your eyes to not properly dark adapt, so you can't see as much off to the side.

As for crime, security lighting is needed around buildings and areas that are crime targets, not in the street.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I live in a dicey "transitional" urban neighborhood
Being able to see out the window, when there are noises on the street is a very good thing.
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