Smart Technologies Support Efficiencies, Conservation, and Public Safety
Austin Energy is helping Austin see stars and save electricity through the Dark Sky and Streetlight Automation Project that automated all 56,000 Austin Energy-owned streetlights and made them Dark Sky compliant.
Through the automation and dark sky conversion, Austin Energy officials estimate the measures could save more than 350,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 230 tons. Light pollution from unfocused lighting can also affect stargazing, natural human rhythm and the ecosystem, according to the International Dark-Sky Association. The organization also estimates that light pollution annually wastes $2.2 billion in energy in the U.S.
Austin Energy automated its streetlights by retrofitting them with wireless photocells that communicate back to Austin Energy through a Web-based system. The automation increases operational efficiency and saves time and energy by enabling Austin Energy to detect automatically when streetlights are malfunctioning rather than patrolling the City.
Lighting the Way with LEDs
For more electricity savings and CO2 diversion, Austin Energy crews installed more than 13,000 LED streetlight fixtures, saving 4 million kWh of electricity annually. That is the equivalent of powering about 360 Austin homes year-round. The energy savings also will avoid emitting more than 2,683 tons of carbon dioxide.
The energy efficiencies gained from the automation and LED projects could save the utility more than 4.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and avoid emitting about 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The Austin metropolitan area is now one of a few areas in the country where streetlights are both automated and Dark Sky compliant.
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