Frequently Asked Questions about LED Conversion Program

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How much savings will the City experience?

The new streetlighting system will consume about 25% of the energy of the existing streetlights, saving the City an estimated $500,000 per year in electricity costs.

Will I notice the new lights?

The new streetlights make colors look bright and true. Trees look green instead of brown, a blue car looks blue instead of grey. Because of this improved color rendition, everything appears brighter under the new streetlights, even when the amount of light is the same as the old lights.

The “color temperature” (warm-cool) of the streetlights is 4000K, which is in the middle of the warm-cool range.  This color temperature closely matches moonlight. This color temperature of the new lights is the same or “warmer” than the quarter-of-a-million LED streetlights that have been or are being installed in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York. The color of the new streetlights is the “warmest” typically available for LED streetlights.

Can the light levels of the fixtures be adjusted?

A wireless control system is being installed. This will allow dimming of the streetlights. Until the control system is fully operational, the streetlights are much brighter than they will be when the system is complete. Once the control system installation is complete, the lights will turn on to only 70% of their current brightness, and later in the evening they will dim even further to about 35% of their current brightness. By the time most of us are going to bed, the streetlights will be dimmed to about a third of their current brightness.

Did the City test the new LED lights?

Test installations were installed in 2010 on Inman Street and Rindge Avenue, and in 2013 on small sections of several others streets.

What factors were considered in designing the new LED system?

A system of street classification was developed to determine appropriate light levels for each street. Streets were evaluated for width, light pole spacing, and vehicular and pedestrian activity and were assigned to categories corresponding to lighting criteria. These criteria are in accordance with guidelines used by the Federal Highway Administration, MassDOT, and the Illuminating Engineering Society.

When will the lights in my neighborhood be converted?

The contractors installing the new LED streetlights will follow the City's street cleaning schedulable.  Each neighborhood will see the contractors working on street cleaning days during June, July and August.

View the Street Cleaning Schedule

Download a Street Cleaning Map

How many Cobra Head fixtures will be installed over the summer of 2014?

4,884 fixtures are expected to be completed by late August 2014.

What is an LED?

It is a Light Emitting Diode.

What type of fixtures are currently on the streets of Cambridge?

Other than decorative fixtures, the City has high pressure sodium (HPS) Cobra Head fixtures.

What is the color temperature of the HPS (High Pressure Sodium) Cobra Head fixtures?

2200K (Kelvin)

What is the color temperature of the new LED fixtures?

4000K (Kelvin)

What was the color temperature of Metal Halide?

4000K (Kelvin)

What is Cambridge using for LED fixtures?

The City has selected a Cree LEDway Streetlight, 40LED, 80LED and 120LED.

Will the new LED lights produce unwanted spill light?

The new lights will reduce unwanted spill light into homes and properties currently experienced by the high pressure sodium HPS fixtures.

Will the public parks be converted to LED?

Yes, this phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Will the decorative street lights be converted to LED?

Yes, this phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Department Information

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Stephen Lenkauskas, City Electrician