Indianapolis, Indiana Converts Streetlamps to LED


To launch the LED retrofit project, the City of Indianapolis established a six-year contract with Indianapolis Power & Light Co., the utility that owns and is responsible for the maintenance of Indianapolis' municipal streetlamps, to replace high pressure sodium bulbs with an energy efficient, LED alternative, and to install new lamps in high-priority locations. Conversions apply exclusively to traditional, cobra-head streetlamp fixtures, of which there are 27,420. Costs of labor and materials will be paid for by the City of Indianapolis. The utility will receive payments in three installments from the City of Indianapolis, and a contractor will perform the LED conversions and streetlamp installations. The upfront capital costs are $12 million, $5 million of which was appropriated from the County Option Income Tax in 2017. Remaining capital costs will be appropriated as part of the annual budget through 2020.

According to the contract, savings realized from the LED conversion will be redirected to fund the installation of up to 4,000 new streetlamps. If installation of the 4,000 streetlamps is completed within the period of the contract, street lighting savings from the initial conversion could be used to convert City-funded decorative lighting to LED technology.



The project to retrofit and install LED streetlamps began in the second quarter of 2018 and is scheduled to last for three years, with the goal of retrofitting 175 lamps per week. Project coordinators staffed within the City of Indianapolis worked directly with the utility to determine the best approach and schedule for project implementation. Conversions of streetlamp fixtures began in April 2018 and will be completed by a contractor hired by the utility.

Location of New Lamps

The City of Indianapolis will combine data-driven analysis with community feedback to determine the best locations for new streetlamps. Purdue University was contracted to perform a darkness assessment, the data from which will be used alongside metrics related to pedestrian and public safety to find the most appropriate locations for streetlamp installation. Factors that will be considered in deliberation include property crime, violent crime, pedestrian/vehicle accidents and limited vehicular access. Additionally, the City will consider bus stop locations, Mayor’s Action Center requests and neighborhood feedback while determining installation sites.

The City created a webpage ( where residents can learn more about the project and submit a request for a new streetlamp. Residents can also request new streetlamps by calling the Mayor’s Action Center.

Eligible locations submitted to the City will be added to a pool of possible sites on a rolling basis and will be prioritized using data from the darkness assessment and public and pedestrian safety metrics.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The City of Indianapolis expects to save $800,000 per year through LED fixture conversion of eligible streetlamps. These savings will be used to install new streetlamps throughout the community with the goal of improving public safety. Conversion to LED technology will also significantly reduce carbon emissions associated with municipal street lighting, helping to mitigate climate change and make progress towards the City’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.


  • Carbon Emissions - Retrofitting the City’s streetlamps with LED fixtures is predicted to reduce CO2e emissions by greater than 50%, or more than 6,645 metric tons. Even with the additional CO2e emissions produced by the new streetlamps that will be installed, there will still be an overall reduction in emissions compared to 2017 levels (13,290 MT CO2e). The City estimates that streetlamps represent approximately 15% of its energy consumption.
  • Public Safety - The installation of new streetlamps throughout the community is expected to increase public safety through crime and pedestrian/vehicular accident reduction.
  • Light Pollution - Conversion to LED technology will reduce light pollution and abate disruption of migratory bird patterns.

Lessons Learned

After the installation of the first 100 street lamps, project coordinators reflected that selecting site locations is a time-intensive process. Determining best locations can be made more efficient by developing an analysis worksheet to help analyze and prioritize locations based on identified weighted metrics.

Project Resources

  • Read the contract between the City of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Power & Light.
  • – public website the City of Indianapolis used to provide information about the project and gather input on where to install new streetlamps.

For more information about Operation Night Light, contact:

Ashley Miller

Project Manager, City of Indianapolis  

(317) 327-3601