Las Vegas is best known for the bright lights of ‘The Strip’ but thanks to new LED fixtures from GE Lighting, the city’s surrounding streets are starting to take on a shine of their own. Far from a gamble, an investment in new brighter streetlights will soon save The Entertainment Capital of the World nearly $1.7 million in annual energy costs by reducing electricity use to the tune of more than 20 million kilowatt hours (kWhs).

Nearly 6,600 GE Evolve™ LED Roadway fixtures have already replaced mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights on arterial streets and residential thoroughfares throughout Las Vegas. As a result the city will consume approximately 2.2 million fewer kWhs this year, equating to $175,000 in energy savings.

This spring, Las Vegas launched the second phase of its street lighting update, beginning with the installation of 35,000 additional Evolve LED Roadway fixtures, which should take about 12 months. Stage-two utility savings alone will exceed $1.5 million a year by diminishing electricity use by more than 18 million kWhs.

Upon project completion, more than 80 percent of Las Vegas’ 50,000 streetlights will be powered by GE fixtures. And while previous streetlights lasted about four years on average, GE’s new Evolve Roadway LEDs have a longer life, estimated at more than 11 years based on 12 hours use per day. That will significantly extend the time between maintenance cycles. The city calculates this will yield an additional $1 million cost benefit, bringing combined annual energy and maintenance savings to $2.7 million. Plus, the bright white light produced by the LED light source further improves visibility on streets.

“Las Vegas has a strong commitment to the environment and we are recognized internationally for our green initiatives,” says Las Vegas city manager Elizabeth N. Fretwell. “People who don't live in Southern Nevada may not think of Las Vegas when they talk about the environment and energy efficiency, but the truth is our city is a leader in these areas.”

The Las Vegas lighting project was opened to public bid in late 2010 and allowed for all types of illumination technologies. Design Concepts, Inc. (DCI), GE Lighting’s authorized Las Vegas representative agency, met with city officials to tout the advantages of an LED solution. Among many different competitors and technology offerings, GE was selected as one of five finalists to participate in an extended trial that concluded in March 2011.

“This was a long and rigorous testing and qualifying process,” explained Bob King, president and CEO of DCI. “The city conducted a thorough study in cooperation with a local engineering consulting firm familiar with the city’s roadway lighting requirements as set forth by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada. Ultimately the decision fell to a team of lighting experts who meticulously analyzed performance, construction, engineered design characteristics, aesthetics, and long-term value.”

In April 2011, GE was awarded the contract for the first 6,600 fixtures. In early 2012, the city proceeded with phase two of the lighting update with an additional 35,000 fixtures. The complete project represents the largest roadway lighting contract in GE Lighting’s history.

DCI coordinated LED fixture fulfillment through local distributor Crescent Electric Supply Company and electrical contractor TransCore to provide installation services for the majority of Las Vegas’ new streetlights. GE and DCI further engaged the city’s maintenance and energy management teams in discussions that produced an NV Energy utility rebate, while Crescent Electric coordinated a recycling program for Las Vegas’ old HPS fixtures that will provide the city with a direct credit that will be applied to the purchase of the new LED lights.

Evolve LED Roadway fixtures are designed to meet recommended luminance requirements for local and major highway and street classifications. Advanced reflective optic technology effectively directs light where it’s needed, improves horizontal and vertical uniformity and reduces glare. A refined thermal management system incorporates a robust heat sink directly in the fixture to ensure maximum heat transfer for long LED life. These energy-efficient fixtures can also be paired with programmable dimming options for even greater control and savings.

By transitioning to more than 41,000 GE Evolve LED Roadway fixtures over the next year, Las Vegas will remove more than 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from its atmosphere annually. This is equivalent to eliminating the CO2 emissions of more than 2,300 passenger cars or to planting more than 3,200 acres of trees.

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