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Rome Trades Warm Glow of Old Street Lights for Cost-saving LED


A street in downtown Rome glows with the warm light of the old sodium lightbulbs. Rome is in the process of swapping out the older lights for new, more efficient LED lights.

Rome is investing millions of euros in environmentally friendly, cost-saving LED street-lighting, but some residents of the Eternal City are unhappy to lose the softer, golden glow of the old sodium lamps.

“This LED light is really bright, really blue, it feels like a hospital light,” said Monica Larner, an American who lives in Rome’s historic center. She said she was shocked to find the old bulbs replaced in her neighborhood overnight, with no notice to residents.

Installation done by summer

The city’s electricity company Acea says the new lighting, which should be fully installed by the summer, will improve visibility and safety as well as save money.

With an investment of about 50 million euros ($53.33 million) the town hall, run by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, will save 260 million euros over the next 10 years, said the head of Acea’s public lighting department.

Over the same period it will cut carbon dioxide production by 350,000 tons and reduce petrol consumption by 180,000 tons, Paolo Fioroni told Reuters.

“This is a great step forward in terms of technological advancement and energy efficiency,” he said.

Some like new lights

While the conversion is carried out, some central piazzas are now illuminated partly by the old softer light bulbs, encased in romantic glass, and partly by the brighter LED glow.

Not all residents prefer the former, even if it is more aesthetically pleasing.

“I am more than happy. I find there is more light in this area and above all there is a real saving in energy level,” said shop owner Luca Candolo. “It was about time.”

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