Chapel Hill to convert to LED street lights

53% energy savings

Post Date:10/04/2019 11:51 AM

The Town of Chapel Hill plans to convert about 2,000 public street lights to energy efficient, light emitting diode (LED) fixtures. The change will cut energy usage from these street lights in half, minimize waste from maintenance, and lower greenhouse emissions.

One of several initiatives to help achieve the Town of Chapel Hill’s goals to address climate change, the project will replace existing high-pressure sodium, mercury vapor, and metal halide street light fixtures with new LED fixtures.

The Council authorized the $154,000 initiative at its regular business meeting on Sept. 25. This hardware transition fee will be paid in equal installments over the next four years. A one-time hardware payment may be considered in the future to convert decorative lighting to LED.

In addition to energy savings, converting to LED lights provides improved illumination enhancing safety and increased reliability and life cycle requiring far less maintenance. Waste from maintenance is reduced because LED lamps tend to last longer than conventional lighting and do not require regular replacements like the existing bulbs. 

The Town selected the 3,000 Kelvin correlate color temperature (CCT) LED fixtures. A light bulb’s CCT (rated from 1,000 to 10,000 Kelvin) helps classify the look of the light produced. The 3,000 Kelvin CCT selected by Chapel Hill provides energy savings, minimizes light pollution, and improves lighting quality for street safety over the existing high pressure sodium lights.

The new LED fixtures use a uniformly dispersed warm white color and may appear brighter compared to the existing yellow, unevenly dispersed high pressure sodium lights.

The conversions are expected to begin in January and continue through July 2020. The majority of the work will take place during off-peak driving times, and more information about scheduling and locations will be released when the project is underway.

Chapel Hill is working to become a more sustainable and resilient community. This includes the Council’s commitment to uphold the Paris Agreement by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% by 2025. For more information about what the Town is doing and how you can help, visit

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