Philadelphia, July 12, 2010 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that Streets Department technicians have begun a 16 month project to convert 55,000 yellow and green incandescent traffic signals to energy efficient LEDs. The department converted red traffic signals to LEDs when the technology became available in the 1990s. Workers will also replace the red signals that have reached useful life. This project will be funded by U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. The City will be rewarded for its energy efficiency efforts with an estimate $3 million payment from the PECO Smart Ideas program.
Mayor Nutter described the project as win for the environment, the City budget and efficient government operations, “This partnership between the City, Department of Energy and PECO will not only save enough electricity to power 700 homes a year and reduce the City’s electric bills by a million dollars a year, it actually earns the City $3 million in efficiency incentives from the PECO Smart Ideas program, and allow streets department workers to spend time making system improvements rather than changing light bulbs. All of this will be accomplished without spending City tax dollars.”
”This is a great example of how we all can save by using energy more efficiently,” said Denis O’Brien, president and CEO of PECO. “Not only will the city save more than $1 million a year in energy costs, and benefit from more than $3 million in PECO Smart Ideas incentives, this effort also has a tremendous environmental benefit – the equivalent of planting about 14,000 trees and not driving more than 14 million miles.”
Elected Officials from across Philadelphia echoed the praise for the new LED traffic signals.
Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02), chairman of the Congressional Urban Caucus and chief sponsor of funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program nationwide, welcomed Mayor Nutter and other officials to the Second District and declared, “These energy efficiency block grants have been a winning ticket for Philadelphia and cities across the nation. I’m proud to have fought for the $3.2 billion in Recovery Act funding for this program.” Fattah said. “Every LED retro-fitted traffic light is a signal to motorists in Philadelphia that their tax dollars are wisely spent, saving energy and creating jobs at every corner.”
Congressman Robert A. Brady (D-PA1) agreed, “I’m pleased that the City is taking this important safety and energy conservation step. And I’m proud that the Federal Government stepped forward with the funds for it.”
“Converting 55,000 traffic signals to LED is another example of how Philadelphia is reducing its energy consumption and leading the way in energy efficient practices.” Councilman James F. Kenney.
The federal government applauded Philadelphia’s use of stimulus dollars for this change.
“Cities like Philadelphia are leading the transition to clean energy,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “By investing in innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, like upgrading to LED traffic lights and developing a solar project at a southeast water pollution control plant, Philadelphia is putting people to work, reducing energy use and saving taxpayers money.”