Street and Park Pathway Lighting, LED Upgrade

Did you know the City has over 6,400 streetlight, park pathway and parking lot lights?  That’s a lot of lights. Public Works took responsibility for these lights in from Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) in 2017.  There are a variety of different styles lighting throughout the City and some are even designated historic monuments by the Historical Advisory Board.  Before the program transferred from AMP to Public Works, AMP converted about 3,500 of the non-decorative, or “cobra head” style lights to LED.

What is LED?
Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have been on the mainstream market for 30 years now. They have characteristically low energy consumption, small size, longer lifetime and faster switching than incandescence lamps and because of that, they have a wide palette of applicability, including streetlighting.

The reason LED bulbs are vastly more cost-effective and environmentally friendly in comparison to incandescent bulbs because LEDs aren’t bulbs at all!  For most incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, heat is a byproduct of the light that is created. Most of the energy incandescent lights use goes towards heating the bulb, leaving little for creating actual light. However, LED lights use only a small portion of their energy to create heat, so most is used for creating brighter light.

Will the lights look the same?
In some locations we will be replacing the entire fixture, like the lantern style fixtures in the Fernside neighborhood. The new LED fixture looks nearly exact to the existing.  For the streetlights designated historic, we will only be changing the bulb to LED and retaining the existing housing.

Consistent with the International Dark-Sky Association, a group whose purpose is to protect the night sky, the new LED street lights have a correlated color temperature (CCT) of 3000 Kelvins.  The CCT is the hue and tone of white light from the LED that is measured in Kelvin (K), which is similar to degrees in Celsius. Different temperatures on the Kelvin scale represent different colors.  For example, light at 2000K-3500K looks more orange/yellow and is called ultra-warm or warm white, and as temperatures increases in Kelvin, color changes to more of a “paper white” known as natural or neutral white (between 3500K and 5100K) and finally into a bluish-white known as cool white (5100K-20000K).  All LEDs to be installed as part of this project are 3,000 Kelvin LEDs or led, which is a warm white glow that is safe for people and wildlife. 

When will the lights be installed in my neighborhood?
The project is being implemented in phases that are dictated both by geography and material availability. Some fixtures take longer than others to manufacture and deliver. We are starting the week of December 7, 2020 in the Fernside neighborhood since the lantern style fixtures were already delivered. We also have the bulb replacements for the historic globe style streetlights, so those will be done next.  St. Francis Electric is the contractor doing the install for this first phase. We anticipate this work to take a month or so before start up subsequent phases.

Please use this map to see the various phases of the LED project and estimated start dates.


What’s the environmental impact of this project?
Energy from City street, parking lot, and park pathway lighting accounts for over 658 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This LED conversion project will reduce emissions from street, parking lot, and park pathway lighting by 213 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.  This is equivalent to 1,047,153 miles driven by an average passenger vehicles or equivalent to 47,485 gallons of gasoline usage.

How was this project funded?
Streetlight, park pathway and parking lot lights are funded by the General Fund. As part of the FY19-21 budget, Council approved $560,000 to supplement a potential $3,000.000 California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Energy Conservation Assistance Act Program Loan with a one percent interest rate fixed for the term of the loan. After further research, staff concluded the project was not eligible for the CEC loan due to legalities around committing the general fund to future years without a vote of the people.

To continue with this important energy saving project, staff restructured the project to purchase the materials directly and manage the install.  Install will be executed with a mix of in house and contractual labor so that the total project contractual costs, including this material purchase, is an estimated $570,000. The project restructuring avoids the need for financing. 

Who can I contact for questions and/or concerns?
Please contact Erin Smith, (510) 747-7938 or