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Smarter streetlights
Smarter streetlights
Jiafei Tang and Azeem Ahamed
Team name: Everlighting Innovation

School: University of Waterloo

Team members: Jiafei Tang, Azeem Ahamed, Lujun Shao, Kirsten Zhang

Concept: Everlighting Innovation wants to replace conventional streetlight bulbs with light emitting diodes (LEDs) that it claims are brighter, cheaper and better than those currently in use.

Everlighting's LEDs use a patented heat-dissipation technology that controls the temperature at the junction between the light's chip and mounting mechanism, where overheating has tended to cause failure in past LED products. The company claims its product would reduce the electricity consumption of public streetlights by 50 to 70% while lasting five times longer and shining 20 to 40% brighter.

Everlighting has also developed a Web-based streetlight management system, called iGreen, that allows it to remotely adjust the brightness and intensity of streetlights based on traffic and weather conditions - thus optimizing energy efficiency and public utility.

The potential opportunities for LED streetlights are huge. Everlighting estimates that if the U.S. replaced all 45 million of its streetlights it would save 14 billion kWh of electricity, $1 billion in cash, and $6 billion in capital expenditures and maintenance while eliminating 9 million tons of carbon emissions.

The Canadian company faces at least six North American competitors in the LED-based public lighting industry, not to mention public uncertainty about LED performance, high product costs and lack of LED lighting standards. Still, Everlighting believes it can jump from gross revenues of $569,000 in its first year to nearly $167 million in its fifth.

Timeline: Everlighting hopes to replace all of Waterloo's 10,000 streetlights before moving on to other cities in southwest Ontario. By the end of the second year it plans to sign up Toronto, Canada's largest city. - Ben Frumin

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Last updated May 02 2008: 11:51 AM ET