So now LEDs don’t get HOT enough?

There’s always something to complain about isn’t there? Apparently, one of the main benefits of using LEDs in the millions of streetlights around the U.S. is turning out to be it’s unforseen downfall. Or at least an oversight, now that the weather has gotten chillier.

Never mind that the LEDs will last years without replacing, not to mention the work it takes to get a guy in a cherry picker to replace it, and the inconvenience of having to stop at every broken light. The fact that it uses 1/10th of the energy of regular light bulbs, saving the city thousands of dollars a month in electricity (Wisconsin saves $750,000 a year) also means that not a lot of heat is being produced by the lights. Heat that would generally melt the snow and ice that would accumulate during the snowy season. This has resulted in accidents, even a death, at the hands of “malfunctioning” traffic lights. And ergo you could say that LED lights KILL PEOPLE.

Ok maybe that’s a stretch. But who would have thought that excess waste heat from inefficient bulbs would be a good thing? I guess it depends on the environment, but I can totally relate. My PC tower definitely keeps my room a degree or two warmer than normal, which is a benefit now that the weather is finally dropping below freezing. And I remember back in college when I’d turn up the Wal-mart halogen floor lamps all the way up to heat up our apartment. I guess in this case, they might need to add a heating element to the lights. I have a great solution though. Two actually.

  1. Assuming the average light stays mostly on green and red for at least a minute or two, but only on the yellow for a few seconds each cycle, then the heat generated from an incandescent bulb in the yellow slot could be just enough to keep the light free of ice and snow without wasting too much energy. This would be the “cheapest” solution and they enough stock from the lights they removed before to last many years into the future.
  2. Retrofit a heating element in the housing so that it warms the lights/lens and keeps snow/ice from accumulating. They could have this set on a switch that turns them all on when the weather gets too cold, rather than having it on 24/7. This would be pricier, but would probably save more energy and you’re not going back to incandescents.
  3. Do nothing. The likelihood of the right conditions for the wet snow and wind to be the right consistency to stick to the the lights is very low. Have crews go around and airblast the snow off of lights that are blocked. And have everyone be smart enough to know that a non-working light means you should treat it as a stop sign. The latter is probably the hardest part to implement.

Your welcome Transportation Authority. Please send checks to my P.O. box.

via Yahoo

The New Light @ The New LightThe original is here: The New Light

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