Montreal is going to change 132,000 street lights to LED lights – but has decided on lights that aren’t quite as blue.
Mayor Denis Coderre said Wednesday that the city decided to purchase 3000 Kelvin LEDs, as opposed to the less expensive 4000 Kelvin bulbs, which emit more blue light.
Blue light mimics sunlight, and affects the body’s ability to produce melatonin.
A study by the American Medical Association suggests blue light may raise the risk of distracted driving as well as conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The 4000 K light would have paid for themselves in energy savings in eight years.
The 3000 K lights consume more energy to produce a yellowish glow. They will pay for themselves in 12 years.
"With a view to sustainable development, the new 3000 K lighting will allow us to cut our electricity costs by 35 per cent and our maintenance costs by 55 per cent, which is far from negligible," said Coderre.
"As I said in French, I don't want to mare more lights at night than [during] the day."
Critics, including the opposition Projet Montreal, were hoping for lights that are efficient, but that also come with fewer health risks.
Coderre said the city has now decided on the 3000 K bulbs, which give off a yellow, more natural light.
Further, he said they will be dimmed in residential areas, and brighter in areas including highways and certain parks.
“It’s a matter of health, but it’s a matter of security at the same time,” he said. “We want to make sure that at crossroads and parks, people feel secure, so it’s important, but there’s an environmental issue too. The lighting can be an issue.”
Sylvain Ouellet of Projet Montreal said the new lights will still be more noticeable than the existing sulfur lights.
"Three thousand K, it's still much higher than what we've got actually, so maybe we'll still have complaints," said Ouellet.
The city is also planning to take advantage of the lighting change to install a smart lighting system that will enable, among other things, to efficiently manage lighting and intervene immediately in the event of breakage or malfunction.
The new street lighting and smart system will cost $110 million.