More Tennessee cities are adopting LED lights, advanced energy technologies

An advanced energy trend is catching on in the Volunteer State as more cities make the switch to LED lights.

Knoxville’s City Council recently approved a contract to retrofit Knoxville’s nearly 30,000 streetlights with LEDs, setting the City on a path to significantly reduce carbon emissions, according to a release.

Council approved a more than $9 million contract with Siemens. The company expects to begin installation of the new lights across the city in late 2017 or early 2018. All work is expected to be complete by June 30, 2019.

By retrofitting Knoxville’s streetlights to LED technology, the City will reduce energy use, and take a major step toward exceeding its goal of reducing emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

“Infrastructure improvements like this are excellent ways for cities across the country to improve quality of life for their citizens, save a significant amount in energy costs and meet their sustainability goals,” said Marcus Welz, CEO of Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems.

City officials in Paris, Tennessee announced in February an energy efficiency project there will be launched. Leaders say they will be replacing more than 2,500 lights across the city to LEDs highlighting the project’s cost efficiency.

“It’s just an opportunity to do something progressive in our community and switch everything over to LED,” said City Manager Kim Foster.

Foster said they hope to start the process of replacing the lights in May, and this will be a continuing project over the next six to eight months.

Putnam County, Tennessee received a Clean Tennessee Energy Grant, and the funds were used towards upgrading the county’s government buildings with more energy-efficient LEDs.

The LEDs will be installed in the 911 center, the community center, the Putnam County Justice Center and agriculture buildings among others.

The light bulbs began getting replaced in June 2016 and the county has until the end of this month to complete the project.

Nashville reaping benefits of LED adoption

Cities like Nashville, Tennessee are leading the charge and reaping the benefits when it comes to LED adoption, according to a news release from GE Lighting.

GE Lighting rated the top 10 cities whose citizens have a greater percentage of purchasing LEDs for their home, and Music City came in at #9. In top cities, one-third of residents have purchased at least one LED over the last year.

The following cities are leaders in LED adoption, saving energy at home.

  1. Seattle, WA (35.5%)
  2. Minneapolis, MN (32.9%)
  3. Oklahoma City/Tulsa, OK (32.3%)
  4. St. Louis, MO (32.2%)
  5. Richmond, VA (30.5%)
  6. Orlando, FL (30.1%)
  7. Hartford/New Haven, CT (30%)
  8. Milwaukee, WI (29.3%)
  9. Nashville, TN (29.2%)
  10. Phoenix, AZ (28.8%)

As LEDs are making lighting technology more energy efficient, the national and global energy sector is rapidly changing. These changes are rippling through all sectors of the economy in increasing visible ways.

LEDs are a prime example of the economic development happening within Tennessee’s advanced energy sector.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is on the forefront of lighting innovation. The discovery of a process to produce high thermal conductivity graphite foam has led to Senior Research Staff Member James Klett‘s research focusing on thermal management materials in applications from personal computers to automobiles to military platforms. James has worked with several companies with the graphite foam to commercialize several applications ranging from satellite radiators to LED lighting.