Energy-Efficiency Is Lighting The Way in Schaumburg (and Beyond)

by Susan Sandoval for SUST 210

All across our country, cities are switching to LED lighting and it isn’t any different in the suburbs of Illinois. According to Russell Lissau’s article posted on the Daily Herald’s website on Nov. 13th, Mundelein in Lake County is preparing to use energy-efficient LED bulbs in their street lights by 2016. As noted by an article on energy.gov, LED bulbs are six to seven times more efficient and last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. There are early signs of Schaumburg also following this lead, as The Village of Schaumburg’s website states they are seeking pricing bids for an LED street light retrofit.

Street view of HPS lamp vs. LED lamp (source: nofilmschool.com)

Street view of HPS lamp vs. LED lamp (source: nofilmschool.com)

As with all change, this one comes with concerns that the LED lighting will have an unpleasing brightness — especially in areas near resident’s homes — and make the town look different at night. This could just be a necessary adjustment period to get used to the change, or perhaps cities will have to look into dimmer capabilities for the LED lights. Time will tell if LED streetlights are on their way to Schaumburg’s streets in the coming years.

Downers Grove hybrid streetlight using wind and solar energy (source: Chicago Tribune)

Downers Grove hybrid streetlight using wind and solar energy (source: Chicago Tribune)

Another avenue suburbs are taking to become even more energy-efficient is switching to hybrid-powered streetlights. In 2010 Downers Grove, IL, installed solar and wind powered streetlights and they were the first ones in a US residential subdivision to do it. According to the Village of Downers Grove’s website, “over a period of thirty years, the 25 hybrid street lights will save over 500,000 kilowatts of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 350 tons.” These impactful changes were started due to town meetings and hearing out the resident’s concerns.

Schaumburg also has businesses within its city limits that are thinking about solar energy. According to Anna Marie Kukec’s article posted in the Daily Herald’s website in 2012, IKEA in Schaumburg is the second largest distributed solar photovoltaic installation in Illinois. The IKEA stores in Schaumburg and Bolingbrook combined prevent 1,610 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to the emissions of 316 cars. Right now it seems Schaumburg is catching on to the LED energy-efficiency trend. Perhaps in years to come more cities will begin following the lead of nearby cities and corporations which are using alternative energy-efficient resources, such as solar.

Each week during the Fall 2014 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future and SUST 240 Waste classes at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on urban and suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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