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PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Construction is now officially underway to improve streetlights throughout Philadelphia.

It’s being called the single largest energy conservation project the city has ever undertaken.

It’s about safety, saving energy, saving money, and also creating more than 1,000 new jobs.

Construction kicked off Tuesday, and a team is now replacing and connecting about 130,000 streetlights into a network of remote-controlled LED lights.

“In just two years, every streetlight in the city will be converted to LEDs and connected to a lighting management system,” says Emily Schapira, the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Energy Authority.

“But what does that really mean? It means that our lights are more energy efficient, reducing street lighting energy use by over 50%. This will reduce our carbon footprint by 10% in just one project,” said Schapira.

The city’s streetlights have been in use since the 1970s, and officials say we’ve been long overdue for an upgrade.

They add that this project should also pay for itself in savings in about 20 years.

Officials say the project will prioritize new lights in neighborhoods where public safety needs are highest.

“When it comes down to not only transportation safety but crime, our street lights play such an important role,” says Carlton Williams, the commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Streets.
“Well-lit communities lead to less crime and less incidents. We are happy to support the police department’s effort on that,” said Williams.

Lighting alleyways will also be a priority, as well as lighting outside of minority and women-owned businesses.