Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Professors Help Brighten City Streets
RCI Team Researching Possibilities
The School of Architecture’s Remaking Cities Institute (RCI) is helping Pittsburgh with a bright idea.
City Councilmember Bill Peduto wants to replace all 40,000 of the city’s streetlights with light emitting diodes, also known as LEDs.
What’s enlightening about this plan is that the goal of the project is not only to save energy and money, but also to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods and business districts.
“The Pittsburgh model of LED street lighting is really going to be the brand of 21st century urban lighting,” Peduto said.
Peduto said the idea goes back to the city’s Climate Action Plan from several years ago when one of the major issues identified to reduce the city’s green footprint was lighting. Around the same time, the Clinton Climate Initiative made outdoor lighting, which can account for a significant percentage of a municipal government’s
electricity usage, a priority.
With innovative new technologies, cities can raise the efficiency standard for outdoor lighting while quickly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving on energy costs.
“CMU’s role was to think beyond the box and to create the model that has not yet been created for lighting for the 21st century, and beyond the parameters of what is currently available,” Peduto said. “Pittsburgh electrified its streets in 1910. There hasn’t been a great leap in urban lighting since then. This would be the next big stage.”
Don Carter, director of the RCI, and a team of researchers will report to city council their findings later in June. Some of their proposed changes could revolutionize street lighting.
By: Heidi Opdyke