Crisp white LED streetlights rolled out by European and American cities have not always been welcomed by local residents, many have complained about its strong glare and unforgivingly powerful light beams streaming through windows that have been compared to transforming living rooms into football fields by upset residents.
Residents in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. have been the latest to join the global lobby for dimmer and warmer LED streetlight options, with some arguing the need to preserve the atmosphere around historic sites, according to report by The News and Observer.
The city had installed the energy efficient streetlights in most parts of town, after initiating the US $12 million streetlight upgrade project to replace 30,000 lights across the city. City authorities estimated the streetlights could save US$ 400,000 annually.
But the city has encountered resistance from residents that are trying to preserve the vibe around historic sites. A subcommittee of Raleigh’s Historic Development Commission voted earlier this month the block the city from installing LED lights in historic areas including Boylan Heights, Blount Street, Capitol Square, Moore Square, Prince Hall and Oakwood.
The city nor the committee has classified the present streetlights these areas as historic, but committee members outlined three issues with the city’s proposal: The proposed LED bulbs are too bright and the 4,000K cool white lights were completely different from the dimmer, yellower lights illuminating the streets. Additionally, the design of the cobra head style streetlights are considered too modern to be placed in the historic district. In short, anachronistic from the committee view point.
The committee has proposed using warmer 3,000K LED streetlights and teardrop shaped LED lights to match its existing globes atop cast-iron streetlights that were adorned with decorative designs. Historic areas in Raleigh were illuminated with gaslights until 1885, before they were replaced with electric lights.
However, the lighting installer Duke Energy isn’t offering lights that are 3,000 Kelvin or less, according to city staff. Some residents are lobbying to finding warmer colored LED lights with or without Duke Lighting.
“It’s not that we don’t want LED lighting; it’s that we want appropriate LED lighting,” said Don Becom, a board member for the Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood. “We realize all we’ve done so far is buy time, but we’re not going away. We’re going to fight for this. It’s more work, and it might be a little more money, but it’s worth it.”