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City of Chicago Aims to Modernize Wireless Smart Street Lighting Project


7/6/2017

Ameresco Inc., an energy efficiency and renewable energy company, announced it has contracted with the City of Chicago for the City’s comprehensive Smart Street Lighting Project to modernize its infrastructure. Working with Silver Spring Networks Inc., a networking platform and solutions provider for the Internet of Important Things, the project is believed to be the largest city-led wireless smart street light program in the U.S., and will connect more than 250,000 street light fixtures across Chicago.

The four-year modernization project is expected to transform Chicago’s street light system by replacing approximately 85 percent of the City’s existing street lights with smart LEDs. The multi-phase project will commence this summer.

“Ameresco is honored to work with the City of Chicago and its leadership for this historic street light project that will increase the energy efficiency of the system while helping to improve visibility and safety throughout City neighborhoods,” says Louis Maltezos, Executive Vice President with Ameresco. “We’re also very pleased to support the City’s priority to ensure a diverse lineup of subcontractors and that City residents will have access to the jobs created through the Smart Lighting Project.”

“The City of Chicago’s lighting replacement initiative will be one of the largest modernization programs to date in the U.S., and we could not be prouder to be part of such an incredible undertaking,” says Mike Bell, President and CEO with Silver Spring Networks. “Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to improving the lives of citizens and neighborhoods across the City of Chicago with state of the art IoT technology is inspiring. We’re very excited to see it come to fruition, while laying the foundation for future smart city applications.”

More than half of the light fixtures in at least the first year will be assembled at a plant in the City of Chicago, and the project will use City residents to perform at least 50 percent of the work on the project. Additionally, the project is striving to achieve 27 percent Minority Business Enterprise participation and seven percent Women’s Business Enterprise participation. The first phase of the project requires a city-wide survey of existing street light infrastructure, and at least half of the personnel for this phase will be graduates of Chicago Public Schools career and technical programs, City Colleges of Chicago construction technology training programs, and/or ex-offender apprenticeship programs.

The new smart LED street lights will be owned and operated by the City of Chicago, supported by Silver Spring Networks’ managed services and its Streetlight.Vision Control and Management System software. The new LED street lights are expected to consume between 50 and 75 percent less electricity than the City’s existing lighting infrastructure. Silver Spring’s IPv6 platform will enable the City to remotely dim or brighten street lights as needed, as well as to remotely monitor street lights for proactive maintenance and faster repairs if failures do occur.

The economics and benefits of the smart street light network approach will help the City manage their resources prudently, and achieve sustainability-driven initiatives and goals throughout the community. The smart street light infrastructure will be integrated into Chicago’s 311 system.

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) led the procurement in close coordination with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and the Chicago Park District. The Chicago City Council approved the project on April 19, 2017.


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