LED (Light emitting diode) Streetlights

LED Residential Streetlights

High Pressure Sodium Lights (HPS) have been the standard for streetlights for years. However, the industry - and cities along with it - are moving in the direction of residential LED streetlights. LEDs use less energy and require lower operating costs.

Currently, Dakota Electric is working with the City to start converting residential streetlights to LED. Several neighborhoods have already been converted. Xcel Energy has also converted many major intersection lights to LED within the City. 

LED Residential Streetlight Survey Results

In 2019, the City sent a survey to 380 households in the three neighborhoods that recently received a change to LED streetlights.  The results of the survey are below:

  • 15 responses out of 380 households (not all responders completed the entire survey)
  • 93 percent responded from the Crystal Lake neighborhood; 7 percent from the Commonwealth neighborhood; 0 percent from the Bryant neighborhood
  • 92 percent have noticed a change; 8 percent have not

Lighting Coverage

82% of survey respondents felt their street was better lit with the new LED streetlights.
Pie chart showing 82 percent of residents surveyed thought LEDs better lit their street.

Impact on Visibility While Driving

50% of survey respondents felt the visibility while driving had improved with the upgrade to LED streetlights

20% felt visibility was similar to before the streetlights were changed

20% had no opinion

10% felt visibility while driving was worse
Bar graph that 50 percent of residents surveyed felt the driving visibility was improved with the ne

Impact Inside Homes

88% percent of survey respondents
felt the new LED streetlights do not affect them inside 
their homes

12% percent felt the new LED lights had a positive effect on the inside of their home

There were no responses for the
lights having a
negative impact

Pie chart showing 88 percent of residents surveyed said the LED streetlights have no effect on them
The following comments were provided in regards to this question.

  • A bit bright in bedrooms that face the street when sleeping, but can put shades on windows, if bothersome. Good deterrent for crime with brighter street lights.
  • The old lights would reflect in the bedrooms at night. The new one gives off more light in the street area but not in the bedrooms.
  • The light that emits from LED is very bright. I have a evergreen tree that blocks the light from shining in my house.

Eight-eight percent of residents surveyed recommend expanding LED streetlights to other neighborhoods; 12 percent do not recommend.

General comments collected in this survey about LED streetlights are listed:

  • The difference is huge and for sure LED is way better and would recommend all street lights to be changed to LED in the near future as it enhances the streets.
  • I would favor the cost savings of the program for the city if the light weren’t so harsh and bright.  Maybe wait until there’s some more natural light LED options (if there aren’t any currently) before expanding the program. Or find a way to diffuse the light somehow so it is less bright white and more naturally tinged to feel more welcoming rather than like a spotlight.
  • Bright streetlights help with crime. May take a while to get used to brightness, but good when putting garbage out at dark and in winter.
  • The light in front of our house was not changed out. Our neighborhood is a mish-mash of some streets that have changed and some that have not.  We were wondering why all was not completed.
  • The LED light illuminates brighter and clearer, giving a feeling of more security.
  • The street lights are great, clean bright white illumination. One thing needs to be corrected; the lenses on the new street light heads focus the light down instead of filling the front yards and streets with full lighting. If you look at the footprint of the light it does not go more than a 20’ to 25’ radius around the pole. The previous lights would fill the front yard, up and down the street providing a long range of light.
  • I love the migration to LED lighting.  From a maintenance, energy usage, color temperature, and brightness perspective, it’s a no-brainer. Years ago, I moved my entire household to all LED lighting for the same reasons. This changeover should be completed as soon as possible!

Comparing LED and HPS Lights

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
High Intensity Discharge (HID)


Respond instantaneously. No warm-up or cool-down periods needed.Require a noticeable warm-up period that ranges from half a second to several minutes depending on the light.
CostsRelatively high initial costs and low lifetime costs. LED has virtually zero maintenance costsRelatively cheap to purchase, but expensive to maintain. Bulbs require several re-lamping and potential ballast replacement throughout the life period of an LED.
EfficiencyMost values for LED system efficiency fall above 50 lumens/watt.

Most values for HPS/HID system efficiency fall below 30 lumens per watt.
Shock ResistanceLEDS are solid state lights (SSLs) that are difficult to damage with physical shocks.HPS/HID bulbs are relatively fragile. More importantly, broken bulbs require special handling and disposal due to hazardous materials like mercury inside of many lights.

LEDs produce a narrow spectrum of visible lights without the losses to irrelevant radiation types (IR or UV).

Produce relevant amounts of both IR and UV radiation.
Light ColorProduces a true white light and is available in a range of color temperatures.Produces a yellowish color.

Click here for more information on the differences between LED and HPS/HID lights.