This autumn, Honolulu will begin replacing 51,700 streetlights with LEDs, according to Hawaii News Now.
The project will cost $60 million and be paid for with money saved on energy costs.
There is controversy to the plan from two quarters. University of Hawaii astronomers assert that the blue light from the LEDs will make it harder for telescopes on Haleakala to spot asteroids. The Sierra Club also has a problem. The organization fears that blue light emanating from the LEDs could confuse some species’ ability to navigate.
The city’s Design and Construction Director disagrees. He suggests that the LEDs will reduce glare. The city already has installed 400 LEDs in four neighborhoods as a demonstration project.
The issue of LEDs’ potential impact on wildlife was discussed in The Los Angeles Times last month. The city has installed 165,000 LEDs in recent years. That has cut energy use by 60 percent and saved $8 million. However, there are fears that the broad-range light from the LEDs will disrupt navigation, mating and feeding of some wildlife. Two studies – one from England and one from New Zealand – show some impact on insects by the LEDs.