San Jose, Calif., has selected locally based Echelon’s LonWorks technology for its second LED streetlight pilot project. Through the pilot program, San Jose plans to convert 125 lights in the city’s Hillview North neighborhood by June 2009. The new streetlights will use energy efficient LED lamps equipped with the vendor’s power line networking technology and segment controllers.

Streetlights connected with the company’s intelligent controls for smart networks can help reduce energy and maintenance costs while improving light quality, decreasing light pollution and providing increased safety, according to Echelon. The city is seeking funds from the federal government’s stimulus package to install additional lights, with plans to change all of its 65,000 streetlights to a new energy efficient system by 2022. The city expects to reduce energy use by almost 40% with the new system.

“San Jose is working to show the world that environmental responsibility makes financial sense. By transforming our streetlights, we help innovators create new industries and reduce the city’s own operating and maintenance costs,” said Chuck Reed, San Jose’s mayor.

San Jose motorists and pedestrians have complained about the city's yellow streetlights, which are easily confused with traffic signals, distort the color of cars and painted curbs, and diminish the resolution of security and traffic cameras. They also consume a lot of energy. Last year the city spent almost $3.5 million on energy costs for streetlights.

The pilot LED streetlights can be remotely dimmed late at night to save energy and to reduce light pollution, a key concern for the Lick Observatory, an astronomy research center located just east of the city.

The LonWorks control network reports on the status of the lights in real time to help identify problems early. The system can notify maintenance crews when a streetlight is out and measure various operating conditions, such as the number of burning hours, which help to significantly reduce maintenance costs of the system.

Because the system is based on a single, networked infrastructure, future enhancements could include message and traffic intelligence programs to move traffic more efficiently. The system could “strobe” the lamps on and off to help emergency response teams easily locate the site of an incident.

“Echelon’s technology is used in remotely monitored and controlled streetlight systems in other cities worldwide, providing significant energy savings and return on investment,” said Ken Oshman, Echelon’s CEO and chairman. “This project is a good example of how public and private partnership can drive solutions in the market. We are proud to assist San Jose in realizing its Green Vision by contributing to energy savings and reduced carbon dioxide emissions in our local community.”

The LED streetlights in the pilot program are BetaLED units embedded with the vendor’s power line signaling technology, which allows communication and control of the streetlights over the existing power lines. Echelon's i.LON SmartServer acts as the segment controller, monitoring and controlling the streetlights from anywhere over an IP connection. The wide area network is provided by SkyPilot Communication’s metro Wi-Fi service.

The pilot project is part of the city’s Green Vision, a 15-year plan to transform San José into a world center of clean technology innovation, to promote environmentally sustainable practices and to reduce energy use.