New traffic lights could cut power bill by millions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 February, 2005, 12:00am

Energy-saving light bulbs are being tried out in traffic lights - a measure which, if extended city-wide, could save the Transport Department $6.7 million a year in power bills.

The bulbs, which the department has been testing in laboratories for two years, have a 10-year lifespan and use only a third of the power of existing bulbs, which only last up to 18 months.

The traffic-light power bill is now $10 million a year.

But the new light-emitting-diode (LED) bulbs are twice as expensive as normal bulbs, cost more to maintain and do not work well with current traffic-light controls. They often falsely signal to the control centre that a light is out, Assistant Transport Commissioner Anthony Loo Khim-chung said.

The LED bulbs are used in Taiwan and on the mainland. Germany, Australia and Singapore were also trying them out, Mr Loo said.

The department has installed the bulbs in lights at 10 junctions and plans to install them at eight others. The $1.5 million pilot scheme will end in September, at which time the department will decide whether to install the bulbs in all the city's 65,000 traffic lights.