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Lincoln Sheds Light on Sustainability

Schneider Electric and the City of Lincoln, Nebraska, recently collaborated on a city-wide street lighting retrofit project that will improve the city’s safety and sustainability efforts while reducing its utility budget by 38 percent. The $12.2 million project will provide the City with significant annual energy and maintenance savings.

The City of Lincoln’s street light system contains thousands of aging street lights that require significant maintenance and are not designed for optimal energy efficiency. Lincoln turned to Schneider Electric to convert its 26,799 street lights to LED technology, which provides a number of benefits including:

  • Improved light quality to offer better visibility and improve safety for city residents
  • High energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption
  • Reduced maintenance costs due to longer lifespan compared to traditional street lamps
  • Improved aesthetics by creating a more uniform lighting experience throughout the city

“We’re excited to further our commitment to sustainability and save taxpayer dollars,” said Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler.  “We will use the cost savings on this project to pay for the improvements and then we’ll invest in other important initiatives to make our community safer and more attractive to residents, businesses and visitors.”

The improved lighting will affect both residential and commercial spaces, providing a more well-lit area to improve safety across the city. The LED lighting will also improve driving visibility, enabling a safer driving experience across Lincoln’s city limits.

By investing in modernized lighting technology, this effort lowers the utility cost and maintenance rates for the existing infrastructure. The cost savings of this project help reduce deferred maintenance and allow funding to be used towards planning future infrastructure improvement projects.

“The city of Lincoln is committed to a sustainable future and doing its part to use new energy practices to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Frank Uhlarik, Sustainability and Compliance Administrator for the city of Lincoln. “LED conversion of our streetlight system was one of 14 strategies formalized in the Lincoln Environmental Action Plan adopted by our City Council in late 2017. Schneider Electric has been extremely helpful in helping us move towards our sustainability goals.”

The LED conversion project also has a positive environmental impact on the community by reducing the city’s annual kilowatt hours by 10.7 million and removing 3.9 million pounds of carbon from the atmosphere. This is equivalent to planting 180,891 trees or removing 1,224 cars from the road. Additionally, Schneider Electric will recycle a majority of the materials from the existing street lights – an added benefit to reducing landfill impacts and creating a cleaner environment for the city.

“We are proud to help the city of Lincoln undertake this critical infrastructure project that will dramatically improve safety for city residents and make a lasting positive impact on the environment,” said Peter Hinkle, Midwest Account Executive, Schneider Electric. “At Schneider Electric, we are committed to helping municipalities in the Midwest and beyond achieve their vision for infrastructure improvements and sustainability without burdening local taxpayers.”

This project builds on the Lincoln Environmental Action Plan sustainability initiatives and goals currently underway within the city. Using the ESCO’s design, build, guarantee model, the City is looking to invest in local libraries, parks and recreation facilities, treatment plants and other facilities in a similar manner to the approach being taken with the street light system.

Construction will begin in October and is expected to be complete by mid-2019, with limited impact on city traffic during the construction phase of the project.

Over the past 25 years, Schneider Electric has successfully implemented more than 700 energy savings performance contract (ESPC) projects across the nation, saving its clients nearly $2 billion. This project delivery method helps publicly funded entities make capital improvements through a design-build delivery and offers many long-term benefits such as improved efficiency, operational performance, financial management and environmental protection.

For more information on how Schneider Electric helps municipalities tackle their top priorities with energy efficiency, please visit