Madrid swaps its street light system with LED technology in the largest urban street lighting replacement plan in the world. Tara Cleary reports.
Out with the old and in with the new. Madrid is lighting up its streets using brighter, energy-saving LED technology. As part of a new ´Energy Saving Plan', the city plans to replace a total of 225,000 street light bulbs, saving 36 percent of annual energy consumption. The goal is not only to reduce the cost of electricity, but the city council's public lighting head, Gemma Gallego, says the reduction is equal to CO2 emissions generated by more than 100,000 vehicles a year. SOUNDBITE: GEMMA GALLEGO, HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC LIGHTING AND SPECIAL INSTALLATIONS OF MADRID'S CITY COUNCIL, SAYING (Spanish): "The efficiency of an LED devise is comparable to the efficiency offered by sodium vapor light sources - and they also have a longer life, over 50,000 hours, which reduces their maintenance costs." The ambitious plan will cost Madrid more than 160 million U.S. dollars, but is expected to save around 130 million dollars over the next eight years. The Spanish capital has pioneered energy-saving public lighting, replacing street lights in 1968 with high pressure sodium vapor lighting and it first tested LED technology in traffic lights in 2004.