Green light plans saving some green

As Mayor Michael Nutter yesterday announced the start of an 18-month project to make every traffic light in Philadelphia more energy-efficient, politicians in attendance outnumbered jobs created five to four. The number that stood out, however, was three.

That’s the number, in millions, on the ceremonial check PECO CEO Denis O’Brien handed over to reward the city for greening its lights.

“Not one city dollar is being used to replace every traffic signal in the city,” U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, said, joined Nutter and City Council members Jannie Blackwell, Curtis Jones and Jim Kenney at 52nd and Chestnut streets.

In all, 55,000 yellow and green incandescent traffic signals will be replaced with energy-efficient LEDs. (Red lights were replaced in the 1990s.) O’Brien said the result is the equivalent of planting 14,000 trees. Stephen Buckley, the city’s deputy commissioner of transportation, estimated the by-intersection savings at between $300 and $400 in energy, upkeep and service costs.

“This is certainly good for the city’s pocketbook,” Nutter said. The city’s annual street-light electric bill of $1.4 million is estimated to drop to about $500,000 at project’s completion.

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