Portland, ME Partners with US Department of Energy to Advance Outdoor Lighting Options

Last month, the City of Portland became the latest city to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on their High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator. The move is the latest in a suite of energy efficiency initiatives taken by the Forest City with the goal of saving taxpayer money and cutting carbon emissions. The partnership provides Portland with DOE tools, resources, and technical expertise to support a high efficiency lighting conversion. In return, Portland will develop a strategy to replace a significant portion of their outdoor lighting portfolio with energy efficient fixtures over a two year period. 

A major component of the plan will likely include converting legacy street lighting fixtures to new light emitting diode (LED) technologies. Street lighting currently accounts for 13 percent of Portland’s total electricity usage, burning through more than 3060 MWh of electricity, or 2,112 metric tons of CO2 annually. Converting older technologies to cost-effective LEDs can cut energy usage (and associated costs) by more than half.

The High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator is a part of the US DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge.  The Better Buildings Challenge is an initiative that connects a system of allies and partners who pledge to reduce portfolio-wide energy usage by 20 percent or more over ten years. The initiative boasts commitments from 47 state and local governments, 30 commercial organizations, 21 financial allies, 21 educational institutions, 18 industrial partners, and three utilities.

As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, the U.S. DOE hosts four accelerators meant to demonstrate innovative policies and approaches toward accelerating progress in: (1) Energy Data; (2) Energy Savings Performance Contracting; (3) Industrial Superior Energy Performance; and (4) High Performance Outdoor Lighting. The high performance outdoor lighting accelerator focuses on identifying and overcoming barriers between the current system of lighting and highly efficient/cost effective Light Emitting Diode (LEDs).  Prospective partners should contact the U.S. DOE and explore the possibility of joining the Better Buildings challenge or one of the four accelerators.  

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