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Ann Arbor, Mich., cuts streetlight bills in half with LEDs

by Rena Ragimova Oct 02, 2007

The Action Steps

Ann Arbor plans to become the first U.S. city to convert 100% of its downtown streetlights to energy-efficient LED technology. In 2007, the process began, and the City expects to install 1,045 LED streetlights over a two-year period. LED lights typically burn five times longer than the bulbs they replace and require less than half the energy. Each fixture draws 56 watts and is projected to last 10 years, replacing fixtures with bulbs that use more than 120 watts and last only two years. The City anticipates a 3.8-year payback on its initial investment.

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Austin, Texas, launches Zero Energy Capable Homes Initiative

by Rena Ragimova Sep 30, 2007

The Achievement

The Zero Energy Capable Homes (ZECH) program in Austin, Texas, requires new single-family homes to be zero net-energy capable by 2015. These homes will be 65% more efficient than homes built to the Austin Energy Code in 2006, and it will be cost-effective to install renewable on-site generation and become zero energy homes.

The program will be implemented in phases. The first of four planned local amendments to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) was approved by the City Council in October, 2007.

Austin's program demonstrates that increasing energy efficiency and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions can both be cost-effective. When the increased cost of building the home is rolled into a 30-year mortgage, reduced energy costs are greater than increased mortgage payments.

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