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Raleigh Will Replace 30,000 Street Llights With LEDs

A picture of a mercury vapor street lamp.
Raleigh will replace 30,000 high pressure sodium and mercury vapor street lamps with more energy efficient lights.

Duke Energy will begin replacing Raleigh's 30,000 conventional high pressure sodium and mercury vapor street lamps with more energy-efficient light-emitting diode—LED—streetlights this week.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Meredith Archie says several North Carolina cities are making the switch, including Wilmington, Henderson and Cary.

"LED lights are more energy efficient, so they reduce the carbon footprint. And as a result of that, they expend less energy so saving money and cost on energy bills," Archie says.

A picture of an LED street lights.
Credit Sbsky / Wikipedia
LED street lights offer a whiter, more even light and use less power than mercury vapor street lights.

Dustin Brice is Raleigh's streetlight coordinator. He says the city expects to save $400,000 a year to by switching to LEDs. 

He says the Duke Energy already 1,500 LED street lights as part of a pilot program, and they've been well-received.

"It's a whiter light, so you can determine colors better at night. It's a more directed light, so there's less spillage of light onto private property. It's more uniform, so when we light up the roadway, there's won't be as many light and dark spots as there is currently," says Brice.

He says it will take the utility 15 months to replace all the city's street lights. Brice adds that the cost savings will allow Raleigh to illuminate 50 miles of roadway that have no lights.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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