Cities glimpse the future of Lighting at The Climate Group’s LED Safari

14 October 2010

The Climate Group hosted city governments from around the world last month in California for its first ever ‘LED Safari’ – part of its global LightSavers initiative. Centered around the 29th annual Street and Area Lighting Conference in Huntington Beach, near Los Angeles, the study tour featured a week of events, presentations and site visits showcasing the ambitions of US governments and businesses to tap into the LED revolution.

By sharing policy information, demonstrating global best practice and offering opportunities for major early adopter cities to share experiences, the Safari aimed to help city governments accelerate the deployment of energy saving LEDs, as part of The Climate Group’s LightSavers Programme.

Key Activities during the week included:

City Tours

LightSavers partners from India, Australia, Europe, Hong Kong and North America were invited by the City of Los Angeles to visit the largest installation of LED lights in the world – currently at almost 27,000 of a planned 140,000 roll out. In a separate tour, the City of San Jose, a leader in the trial of smart controls for LED lighting, demonstrated its remote controlled dimming systems for LightSavers’ guests, who were impressed by the quality and level of light produced even at 10 per cent of potential output. One of the benefits of LED lighting is the eye’s ability to see well at lower levels of illumination, compared with traditional sodium lamps.


Representatives of both Los Angeles and San Jose joined a Climate Group panel discussing the Economics of LED lighting. Of particular interest were the pioneering relationships they are developing with their utilities to finance roll-outs and promote energy and maintenance savings through new tariffs. The cities emphasized that less tangible benefits delivered by the superior quality of LED light, such as reduced crime and improved aesthetics, were also important factors in making the business case to councils.

Speed Dating

The Climate Group invited 20 major LED lighting manufacturers to pitch to cities, in a unique speed-dating event that helped raise awareness on both sides about supply and demand in a nascent market. Manufacturers of LED chips, Lumileds, invited guests on a tour of their Silicon Valley manufacturing facility, demonstrating the speed of development and high-tech wizardry in an industry that is leading the third revolution in lighting.

Department of Energy Consortium

Perhaps the most impressive development of the week was the first US Department of Energy Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium meeting. In a nation-wide effort to pave the way for the benefits of LED lighting, various working groups were formed to address barriers in lighting standards, adaptive controls, and tariff development. In an area with a complex network of stakeholders, this inclusive approach has huge potential to help councils with slashed budgets and high climate aspirations to take important steps down a low-carbon path.

Phil Jessup, Director of LightSavers, said “LED safari offered the opportunity for The Climate Group to do what it does best, facilitate effective, productive relationships between leaders who have a handle on the future markets for low carbon technologies.”

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