CHARLOTTETOWN – Converting older highway lights to energy-efficient LEDs is reducing the province’s electricity bill, says Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey.
“Lighting our highways is one of the most important things we can do to make night-time driving safer,” Vessey said. “By switching our existing highway lighting to LEDs, we are seeing a cost savings of about 40 per cent on electricity compared to our older fixtures.”
Work began in 2012 to convert the province’s 1,265 highway lights to LEDs. The most inefficient of the existing low and high-pressure sodium lights were replaced first, and now lights are being converted at all major intersections.
Depending on the amount of light needed, the province uses LED panels that contain 48, 72, and 96 LEDs. The Trans Canada Highway realignment between New Haven and Bonshaw uses exclusively LED lighting.
Half of all highway lights will be changed over to LED by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2015, and every light in the province should be converted by 2017.
LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” which work by passing electrical current over a semiconductor chip to cause the chip to emit a beam of light. They are more energy- efficient than standard incandescent or fluorescent lights because electricity travels in one
In addition, LEDs produce no heat and last years longer than a conventional light bulb because they have no filament to break, also saving the province money in maintenance costs. They are commonly used in household devices from computers to flashlights.