The Decatur Daily Democrat
Street lights going the LED route
What’s going on with the street lights in Decatur? Some of them just don’t look like street lights.
Not to worry. The city is slowly but surely replacing the type of street lights used for, oh, maybe since street lights were invented, with new LED lights.
And they look different – a whole bunch different!
“We’re slowly switching to the LEDs,” city Operations Manager Jeremy Gilbert explained. “They’re brighter and use less electricity. I&M (Indiana Michigan) charges us less, too.”
Light-emitting diode (LED) lights were first produced in October of 1962 and those of today have many advantages over the high-pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights used in many communities across the U.S.
The LEDs have a longer lifespan than the HPS streetlights. They can last up to 50,000 hours as compared to the typical 10,000 hours of the HPS lights. Thus, they are more affordable in the long run.
The LEDs are more efficient and use less energy; they are able to withstand harsh weather conditions; and they can improve safety by providing better illumination and visibility at night.
The new LED streetlights can be seen all around Decatur, but it’s going to be a while – a long while! – before that’s all that will be seen on the streets here.
“It’s sort of a life-cycle thing; we’re replacing the older lights on a case-bycase basis,” Gilbert said. “We can’t get bulbs for some of the older lights.”
For the technical folks, Wikipedia says the following: “A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor device that emits light when current flows through it. Electrons in the semiconductor recombine with electron holes, releasing energy in the form of photons. The color of the light is determined by the energy required for electrons to cross the band gap of the semiconductor.”