Bright Lights, Bright Futures: The Southeast Michigan Street Lighting Consortium

Streetlights at night

Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


If metro Detroit converted 50,000 streetlights to LED technology, what kind of impact would that make? Cities and taxpayers alike would benefit from the cost savings, and our region would move one more step from rust belt to green belt.

The Southeast Michigan Regional Municipal Street Lighting Consortium, our newest initiative, aims to upgrade all public streetlights to LEDs throughout the metropolitan Detroit region by 2020, returning significant savings to local governments with fiscally constrained budgets while realizing environmental, aesthetic and public safety benefits.

Why LEDs?

The benefits of upgrading old, inefficient streetlights are many. They include:

  • Fiscal savings for cities and taxpayers: Streetlights account for about 20-40% of a municipality’s energy bill. Most cities have old street lights—LEDs are generally 30-50% more efficient and decrease energy usage and expenses.
  • Public safety: In many of the communities we work with, lighting is a public safety issue. The most vulnerable neighborhoods often lack adequate lighting. The cost savings from LED upgrades would support more complete coverage in their communities, including neighborhoods and downtown districts. This increased coverage can make our communities safer for both drivers and pedestrians.
  • Addressing climate change: Upgrading streetlights region-wide could have the impact of reducing the electricity use in the region by 2,000 MWh and cutting emissions by 1,411 MtCO2e each year. That’s the equivalent of powering 194 homes with electricity for one year or planting 1,157 acres of forest.

The Regional Energy Office hopes to create a replicable model that can be applied in other metropolitan areas across the country.

Get involved!

To find out more about how your community can be involved, please contact Energy Programs Manager Jennifer Young at 866.960.8803, ex. 712 or