Energy-efficient LED lamps light up downtown Detroit

New fixtures will save 40 percent in electricity costs and create a more attractive environment

November 21, 2011

DETROIT — The City of Detroit, the City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan have collaborated to install 1,077 new high-efficiency LED street lights in key areas of Downtown Detroit. Detroit Public Lighting crews are replacing old fixtures with new LED lamps along streets that make up nearly half of the central business district:

  • Woodward Ave. from I-75 to Jefferson Ave.
  • Cadillac Square from Campus Martius to Randolph St. 
  • Griswold St. from Fort St. to Jefferson Ave. 
  • Congress St. from Beaubien St. to First St. 
  • Larned St. from Beaubien St. to Washington Blvd. 
  • The streets near Comerica Park and Ford Field 
  • The Paradise Valley area (formerly known as Harmonie Park) 
  • An area bounded by I-375, Larned St., Beaubien St., and Congress St., adjacent to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan campus 
  • Jefferson Ave. from Cobo Convention Center to I-375
  • Certain sections of Moncalm St., Randolph St., and Park Ave. 

“This project has a double benefit,” said Mayor Dave Bing. “It creates a more comfortable environment for downtown workers, residents and visitors, and the high-efficiency lamps will immediately start saving money. I look forward to creating more of these opportunities through collaborations in other business districts and neighborhoods.” Approval of the downtown lighting plan and beginning installations follows City Council approval of Mayor Bing's proposal to repair 5,000 streetlights citywide.

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, acting on behalf of the DDA, is managing the project for the collaboration. “This is a strong economic development project, because we know that feet on the street attract new business investments,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of DEGC.

The DDA has identified $1.22 million from its own funds and U.S. Department of Energy grants, and a contribution from the Detroit Downtown Partnership of $87,500, made possible by Blue Cross Blue Shield, for a total project cost of $1.3 million.

“Safety and security is one of the DDP’s key initiatives,” said David Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “This lighting project not only enhances safety and security for Detroit’s residents, employees and visitors, it is also a sound addition to the city economically and environmentally. This effort is a terrific example of what the strong partnership between the city, DEGC and the business community can accomplish. We hope to continue this effort throughout the entire downtown neighborhood.”

One of the areas of new lighting includes what Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is calling its "BLUPath" between its main campus and expanded offices in Towers 500 and 600 of the Renaissance Center. BCBSM CEO Daniel Loepp plans to showcase other pedestrian amenities along the BLUPath to employees and media on Friday, Nov. 18.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is delighted to partner with the City of Detroit, DDP and the DEGC in an initiative that makes Detroit a safer and more energy efficient place to work, live and play,” said BCBSM President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp.

The light fixtures were carefully chosen to meet energy-efficiency and durability, and roadway lighting requirements, but also to fit in with the streetscapes, and provide lighting that is attractive and inviting to pedestrians. The new lighting will save money three ways:

  • Each new LED lamp draws an average of 240 watts of power compared to the 400 watts needed by the existing lamps, yet the light output is the same. The energy cost savings by replacing more than 1,000 lamps is almost $57,000 per year. 
  • Since the bulbs last about 10 years, compared to the three-year lifespan of the existing lamps, the City will also save substantially on the cost of bulbs and the labor to replace them. 
  • Finally, by reducing the overall load on the downtown street lighting system, Detroit Public Lighting Department officials expect significantly fewer costly power outages from overloads.
    One of the distributors of the light fixtures, Hercules and Hercules, Inc. is a Detroit-based business.

Background

About Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation serves as the lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in the city of Detroit. DEGC is led by a 60-member board comprised of business, civic, labor and community leaders. Its 35 professionals provide staff services for key public authorities that offer tax credits and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs or economic activity to the city. Among them: the Downtown Development Authority, Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Economic Development Corporation, Neighborhood Development Corporation, Local Development Finance Authority, and Tax Increment Finance Authority. DEGC also provides planning, project management and other services under contract to the City of Detroit. For more information, visit degc.org

About the Downtown Detroit Partnership

The Downtown Detroit Partnership is a private/public partnership of corporate and civic leaders that supports, advocates and develops programs and initiatives that create a clean, vibrant, safe, beautiful, inviting and economically strong Downtown Detroit community. Its public partners are the City of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Wayne County and the State of Michigan. For more information visit downtowndetroit.org.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provides and administers health benefits to 4.3 million members residing in Michigan and members of Michigan-headquartered groups that reside outside the state. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information visit bcbsm.com.

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