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DEGC, city to switch downtown's street lights to LEDs

LED street lights, the poster child of urban environmental chic, are coming to downtown Detroit en masse over the next few months.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp, city of Detroit Public Lighting Dept and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are working to install 1,077 LED street lights in Detroit's Central Business District. The ultra-energy efficient lights will be installed along Woodward, in the Paradise Valley area (AKA Harmonie Park), around Cobo Hall, Campus Martius and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's growing downtown campus.

The $1.3 million is funded primarily by $1.22 million in U.S. Dept of Energy grants focused on creating more energy efficient infrastructure. A $87,500 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, via the Downtown Detroit Partnership, rounded out the funding.

"We decided to focus that money to improve the lighting system downtown," says Malik Goodwin, vice president of project management for DEGC. "At the same time, the DEGC has been trying to attract corporations downtown. As their employees arrive we want to make sure there is good, reliable lighting."

LED street lights are 40 percent more energy efficient than the traditional streetlight. They also generally have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance than standard streetlights. These new LED streetlights will also relieve pressure on Detroit's aging electrical grid system. The city and the DEGC are working to find ways to install more LED lights throughout the rest of the city.

"The Public Light Dept definitely wants to do that," Goodwin says. "We are exploring ways to make that happen."

Source: Malik Goodwin, vice president of project management for Detroit Economic Growth Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke

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