LED Streetlights: new initiatives for residential areas

LED streetlights use significantly less energy and have a much longer lifespan than traditional streetlight fixtures. This energy savings reduces carbon emissions significantly, but it’s not just good for the planet – it’s also good for towns’ budgets, reducing energy and maintenance costs. Many New York municipalities have started to retrofit their street lights, saving millions of dollars in energy costs and reducing carbon emissions.  With the October 2015 passage of the Streetlight Replacement & Savings Act, it is expected that many more municipalities will launch streetlight upgrades in the coming years.

Though the environmental and financial reasons for making the switch to LED streetlights are clear, municipalities have found an unintended consequence with the switch to LEDs: some residents find the LED lights to have a cold and harsh light.  Additionally, concerns have been voiced about the LEDs disrupting sleep and causing glare. Recently the American Medical Association weighed in on the topic, stating that to reduce the negative health and environmental effects of LED streetlights, a softer color light should be used.  Although these concerns may give a municipality pause about moving forward with an LED Streetlight project, one town in Westchester is working to address these concerns.

Scarsdale, a residential town located in Westchester County just outside of New York City, has been working with the industry to find lights that not only provide energy and financial savings, but do so with an aesthetically pleasing light. To do this, the town created a committee of residents and municipal officials to research LED Streetlights and find an appropriate light for the community. While the LED lights initially available were not considered satisfactory for their town, they found that by working with the industry it was possible to find a more appropriate fixture.

The town created multiple public test sites with LED lights that vary in color and brightness, from the stark white lights used on some city streets to softer, warmer lights that are suitable for residential areas. After testing fixtures of varying color and brightness, Scarsdale is now one of the first communities to launch an LED pilot with softer color lights. Their research is available for other communities and the Scarsdale LED committee welcomes the opportunity to share its experience with others.

If your community is interested in learning more about the Scarsdale Pilot or would like to view the Pilot lights, the committee can be reached at