Outdoor Lighting Accelerator Toolkit

Within the framework of the Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, we worked to help state and local governments move closer toward a clean energy economy using high performance technologies that reduce the cost of an essential public service--street lighting. While LED street lighting technology is gaining greater acceptance in some regions across the country, market perceptions and barriers still prevented municipalities from taking full advantage of the energy savings and cost benefits of high performance lighting, especially LED upgrades.

    This tool provides an interactive and visual representation of possible approaches and decisions that will typically be encountered in upgrading/replacing a public outdoor lighting system.
    The Partner Summary Table summarizes pivotal aspects of the conversion process and how the identified partner addressed the scenario. To view all partner profiles, click here.
    Across the nation, outdoor lighting helps communities create a safe environment for residents and business owners to live, work, play, and travel. This is a vital public service supported by taxpayer dollars that municipalities and their utilities provide, and there are many solutions that municipalities are adopting for LED conversions.
    The main cost associated with LED street light conversion is the upfront capital outlay, which can be significant. Financing options range from traditional municipal bonding to investor owned utility programs, and third party financing.  Many organizations combine several of these options to develop the optimal financing package for their LED conversion.
    Street light retrofits often considered “low-hanging fruit” in pursuit of energy efficiency goals is still difficult to achieve in some areas due to multiple streetlight ownership, perceptions of new technology risks, and utility tariffs that have not kept up with the speed of technology developments. The following resources explain the utility rate making process and the LED conversion cost considerations from the municipal end user’s perspective as well as that of the electric utility company. Common approaches to working with utilities on a LED-based tariff are outlined in the Decision Tree Tool and several solution options are explained in the Outdoor Lighting and Solutions Pathway report.
    LED technology has improved dramatically over the past ten years, with enhanced manufacturing processes, materials delivering consistently high-quality light output by way of smaller components, and greater interoperability with other digital platforms. Evaluating the expected performance, reliability, and the rapidly changing nature of the technology play a role in the decision making process around an LED conversion.
    This webinar session briefly reviewed some of the lessons learned by early adopters of connected LED street and area lighting systems over the course of multiple pilot projects, with a focus on the following topics: justifying and financing an installation, writing a specification, start-up and commissioning challenges, dimming and energy savings, monetizing energy savings and utility tariffs, and identifying and qualifying additional value propositions.


Education, Local Government, State Government


Identifying or evaluating energy-saving technologies

Tool type:



Lighting, Exterior

Toolkit Legend:

Financial - Tool or resource to address financial challenge

Regulatory - Tool or resource to address regulatory or tariff challenge

Technical - Tool or resource to address technial challenge