LED Streetlight Upgrade


The City of Medford has upgraded all of our streetlights to LEDs!

All 4,500 streetlights owned by the City of Medford have been upgraded to LED fixtures with controls. This upgrade reduces our energy usage, saves the city money and reduces our greenhouse gas emissions. This project has been partially funded by grants and incentives from the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and our utility provider, National Grid (NGrid).

The new fixtures are a warmer color than standard LED streetlights, at 3000K. 

These new fixtures are found on the streets managed by the City of Medford, some streets in Medford are managed by state agencies, who have also upgraded fixtures on those streets to LED as well.  To find out which streets are managed by the city versus the state, refer to this map, on the Medford Bicycle Commission webpage.

How will it save the city money?

This upgrade lowers maintenance costs on the streetlights and reduces the amount of electricity the streetlights consume each month.

Maintenance costs will be lower because Medford has bought our streetlights, ending rental & maintenance fees paid to National Grid, saving the city approximately $30,000 monthly. Additionally, the new LED fixtures will need less maintenance than before and the new control system will help target the maintenance efforts.

Just purchasing the LED lights is saving the city approximately $300,000 each year.

LED streetlights use approximately 60% less electricity than standard streetlights, reducing the amount of electricity we must purchase.  We will also be reducing our carbon footprint because as of today, we still release carbon in the atmosphere when we produce electricity in Massachusetts. 

Why are LEDs better than the existing streetlights?

Former HPS streetlight near Medford Square

LEDs are more energy efficient and require less maintenance than the old lighting system.  It is also easier to distinguish colors under LED light than under traditional streetlights.  Our old system used high pressure sodium (HPS) lights, which have shorter lifespans and require more upkeep than LEDs.

LEDs last about 100,000 hours (20 years); HPSs last 20,000 to 24,000 hours (6 years). The longer lifespan means that the lights will need to be replaced less often. LED streetlights are about 60% more efficient than HPS lights, which means they use about 60% less electricity to produce the same amount of light. Because of the better control of the light that is emitted from LEDs, it is easier to see colors and distance with LED lighting than with HPS.

Medford hired Tanko Lighting to audit the streetlights and design the upgrade. Tanko is also working with Everett, Malden, Somerville, and other neighboring towns on similar projects.

How much does it cost?

Final bills are still being submitted, but the total cost of the project will be approximately $1.93 million and Medford will pay approximately half the total cost of the upgrade. The rest of the money comes from MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and from National Grid.  As mentioned above, just buying the streetlights is saving the city $300,000 a year, once converted to LED, the city will save approximately another $250,000 a year in electricity costs.  Therefore, while the city’s share of the cost, $993,000, sounds like a lot of money, we will save almost that much in the first two years of operation.

DOER has awarded Medford two separate grants to fund this project, as well as some smaller projects. The city’s website has more information about the DOER grants here. National Grid is also providing incentives that will help pay for the upgrade costs.

What about other outdoor lighting?

Decorative streetlight near Medford Square – will be upgraded to match the lights on the Craddock Bridge

Street lights that are maintained by state agencies, like the MA Dept of Transportation and MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), have recently been upgraded to LED lighting as well. These lights are a more standard color temperature, at 4000K. The City of Medford is not behind these changes to state controlled street lights. The agency that maintains each street controls and pays for the lighting on that street, therefore those are outside the scope of this project. You can see a map of which streets are managed by the City and which by other agencies on the Medford Bicycle Commission webpage here.

The City is having all the exterior lights in municipal parking lots and city parks audited as well.  Most of these lights are also being upgraded to LED.

What do these lights actually look like?

We’re replacing the current lights with 3000K LEDs LEDs. This number indicates how warm (yellowish) the light seems. The current streetlights are approx. 2200K, and produce a warm, yellowish light;  3000K LEDs are recommended by the Dark Skies project and the American Medical Association. Some areas, like shopping malls and highways tend to use a whiter light, rated 4000K. Residents have indicated that they would prefer the warmer light in Medford.

Issues with the streetlights? 

If a streetlight is shining into your house, you should email the Office of Planning, Development, and Sustainability at ocd@medford-ma.gov with your address and as much information about the situation as you can. Our consultant will investigate and make a recommendation.

If a light is flickering or blinking or flashing, you should send an email to the Office of Planning, Development, and Sustainability at ocd@medford-ma.gov, with the pole number and a close address, or as good a description of the location as you can provide.

If a light is on all day as well as all night, you can report this directly to our maintenance contractor at https://covielloelectricinc.com/reports/medford/

If a light has been upgraded and is not on at night, please report this to our maintenance contractor at https://covielloelectricinc.com/reports/medford/ These repairs occur once a week, typically on Wednesdays.

Any other concerns and questions can be emailed to ocd@medford-ma.gov.