Peduto to mark street-light upgrade in person tonight

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Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto will stand on a Shadyside street tonight to mark a milestone lighting upgrade.

By the end of February, Mr. Peduto said, the city will have completed the installation of about 3,000 energy-efficient LED street lights in its business districts.

The work, which Mr. Peduto called a model for other municipalities to emulate, is supported by about $800,000 in state grant money.

Mr. Peduto hopes that all 40,000 of the city's street lights eventually will be converted to LEDs -- a move that he said would save $800,000 to $1 million annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12,700 tons a year. That's the equivalent of taking 3,800 cars off the road.

Mr. Peduto said he'll stand at Walnut and Bellefonte streets at 6:30 p.m. today to celebrate the lighting upgrade in the Shadyside business district and talk about how other municipalities can follow suit. He said details are on a website, pittsburghledproject.com , which goes live Wednesday.

Installation of the LED lights began in December, but the project began in 2005, when Mr. Peduto convened a Climate Action Plan Task Force and put more efficient, less expensive lighting on the group's agenda.

Since then, Mr. Peduto said, the city has tapped expertise at local universities, tested more than 50 kinds of LED lights and adopted a lighting code intended to bring uniformity to lighting citywide.

"The goal of the Pittsburgh model is 3 E's -- efficiency, equity and environmental improvement," Mr. Peduto said.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's office downplayed Mr. Peduto's role in the project, saying executive-branch administrators secured the state grant, developed installation guidelines and oversaw the test of dozens of LED models.

"This was a mayor's office initiative," Jim Sloss, the city's energy and utilities manager, said.

Mr. Sloss also questioned Mr. Peduto's estimates of cost savings. Because of low electricity costs, he said, the city will save little, if any, money on the conversions.

In a statement, mayoral spokeswoman Joanna Doven said Mr. Ravenstahl "is ecstatic that the hard work of his office of sustainability is resulting in cleaner, brighter, and more cost-effective streetlights for business districts. A lot of long hours and hard work has gone into this project, from testing the latest lighting technologies in business districts, to ensuring that we are aggressive as possible in obtaining grant funds. The mayor wants to thank all city employees who have made this project possible."


Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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