Between 2002 and 2005, The City of Calgary undertook a complete retrofit of approximately 37,500 residential streetlights, switching to lower-wattage EnviroSmart fixtures from the dropped lens fixtures. The City was the first in North America to undertake such a retrofit.
Key benefits of EnviroSmart Streetlights include:
- Energy and money savings. The new flat lens fixtures use less energy, which helps to keep operating costs down. Cost savings from reduced energy consumption alone are estimated at $1.7 million per year, while energy savings are estimated at 25,000 MWh. By 2011 or 2012, it is estimated The City will regain the cost of installing the new fixtures from energy savings.
- Greenhouse gas reductions. Using less electricity reduces the emissions produced by gas and coal-burning generators.
- Glare reduction. Glare from streetlights is significantly reduced with the new flat lens streetlight fixtures, increasing visibility by directing light onto the roadway and preventing it from shining into the eyes of motorists.
- Light pollution reduction. New ways of designing and providing streetlighting have been developed in the last several years. The City is committed to reducing our level of light pollution by using the most efficient streetlight fixtures and employing the latest design methods.
- Maintaining a safe level of lighting. Streetlighting on residential and collector roads will continue to meet minimum Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) guidelines.
Light captured by a satellite over western Canada in 2001
Before the retrofit, Calgary streetlighting levels were among the highest in North America. The satellite photograph above shows the light captured by a satellite over western Canada and the United States in 2001. The photograph demonstrates that much of the light generated in Calgary at that time was directed up into the night sky.