Cities Make the Switch to LED Lights, Saving Money and Energy

Updated: 07/22/2013 8:21 PM By: Beth McDonough

There's a new push to conserve energy in the metro.

Especially in Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Park. The two communities are making the switch from traditional streetlights to modern, more efficient LED lights. 

It's a move the cities claim cut costs and saves you money. 

Brooklyn Park is a suburb with a lot of lights. There are 4,300 lights on medians, sidewalks and street corners. It costs about $90,000 a year.

That's why city leaders chose to change out some of the street lights to see if it makes a difference, "we're saving more than 50 percent of our costs on energy and our maintenance costs are almost nonexistent," says Steve Nauer, the Street Maintenance Superintendent for Brooklyn Park.

The yearly utility bill is now about $45,000 thanks to the LED lights. They replaced the traditional HPS lights in 100 locations. During the day, the lights look similar, but at night that's when folks notice. 

In Eden Prairie, they're testing out the brighter, whiter LED lights too. It's along a stretch of Viking Drive between Flying Cloud and Prairie Center, where they put seven lights.

The city braced itself for complaints, but hasn't received any so far. It has realized cost savings in the city's utility bill of 60 percent, "at the end of the day we're saving a lot of money for our taxpayers and our citizens so it makes it the right thing to do," according to Robert Ellis, the Public Works Director for Eden Prairie. 

Robbinsdale and West St. Paul are giving LED lights a go too. Jon McGlory of Brooklyn Park is a fan of technology that gives taxpayers like him, a break, "environmentally friendly, in the long run it's better to be less wasteful in all things you do,"

The LED lights cost twice as much up front, about $500 each. But they last three times as long according to experts.

Eden Prairie is testing the lights through the summer before deciding if it will retrofit all of the streetlights in town.

The technology for the LED lights was developed by a Minnesota company: Lighting House USA. 

It's based in Plymouth.