London and Los Angeles Share Knowledge on Outdoor Lighting Retrofit

Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting Director addresses UK’s Institution for Lighting Professionals

The London outdoor lighting community welcomed Ed Ebrahimian, Director of the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting to speak about a major public works project in Los Angeles to retrofit the city’s street lighting with energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) fixtures.  The project is the largest LED street lighting retrofit ever undertaken globally. 

The Institution for Lighting Professionals (ILP), the UK and Ireland's largest and most influential professional lighting association, invited Mr. Ebrahimian together with C40/CCI staff members Emma Berndt, Director of Outdoor Lighting and Terri Wills, City Director in London,  to present last week at the ILP annual conference, which this year focused on sustainability.

C40/CCI has been working with the ILP and the London Lighting Engineers Group (LoLEG) to better understand the complexities of energy efficient lighting projects, including LED, and to work through some of the challenges unique to London. To this end, the parties co-hosted a workshop in November 2010, bringing together London lighting engineers and LED manufacturers. Discussions there yielded two main conclusions: first, the high price of LEDs currently seen in the UK could come down with large-scale purchasing; second, a systematic process to compare the numerous LED products and evaluate manufacturer claims could enable the selection of appropriate and highly efficient and effective LEDs. An article in the February 2011 issue of Lighting Journal elaborates on the debate that took place at this workshop.  

The results of the Los Angeles project, which is currently achieving energy savings of 59 percent and expected to deliver a payback period of 7 years, will provide solid evidence of the two main conclusions forged at the London workshop. For his part, Mr. Ebrahimian of Los Angeles was interested to learn that one of the London boroughs has had an installation of LED lights in place for the last 4 years, and that the performance data from this installation supports data Los Angeles has seen from its own installation that has been in place for 4 years.

"The first street light in the world was installed in London. It is an honor to speak at the ILP conference and a pleasure to share experiences with a lighting community that has such a long and rich history in lighting," said Mr. Ebrahimian.

The London and Los Angeles lighting landscapes differ in many respects; for example, London’s infrastructure is older than Los Angeles’s and managed by 33 independent boroughs, rather than a single governing structure.  Their respective ways of implementing transformative projects are therefore different. Even so, both cities continue to learn from one another's experience and technical expertise; and, as participants in the C40, they  are exchanging knowledge with further cities on successful efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.