FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 30, 2014 3:12:35 PM CDT
Mayor Annise Parker/Centerpoint Announce Groundbreaking Agreements
LED Streetlight Conversion and Utility ROW Hike and Bike Trails included
Mayor Annise Parker announced today that CenterPoint Energy, in partnership with the City of Houston, will convert approximately 165,000 streetlights from high pressure sodium, mercury vapor and metal halide to light-emitting diode (LED) technology. This replacement project, the largest in the nation, will reduce the City’s streetlight energy usage by approximately 50 percent, reduce the City’s municipal greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by five percent and save the City over $28 million over the life of the project.
In addition, an agreement has been reached that will allow hike and bike trails along CenterPoint’s utility ROWs. The City and CenterPoint will utilize existing ROWs to provide north-south connections in the City’s growing network of hike and bike trails. The Bayou Greenways 2020 project will create trails along the city’s bayous which tend to run east and west. The agreement was facilitated by the passage of legislation that allows CenterPoint to grant recreational users access to the corridors without increasing its liability for injuries. The legislation also provides a framework for the parties to select, construct and maintain trails into the future.
CenterPoint has committed $1.5 million to build the first leg of the trails at a site yet to be determined.
Joined by many local and state leaders, including CenterPoint President and CEO Scott Prochazka, State Representative Jim Murphy, Houston Parks and Recreation Director Joe Turner, Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Houston Director Brian Yeoman, the Mayor spoke about the commitment of both the City and CenterPoint to save energy, reduce costs, achieve environmental benefits and provide new hike and bike trails for Houston’s residents.
“Our partnership with CenterPoint will reduce Houston’s carbon footprint, increase the quality of outdoor lighting, improve connections in our burgeoning hike and bike trail system and improve the quality of life and safety of residents, all while saving the City money,” said Mayor Parker. “These are big wins for Houston.”
“CenterPoint Energy is pleased to be part of these two initiatives that will enhance the quality of life in our community,” said Scott Prochazka, President and CEO of CenterPoint Energy. “Our company prospers as our communities prosper and our communities prosper when residents, visitors and employers agree that our communities are good places to live, raise families and locate businesses.”
“The road to cleaner air and a safe climate is a long and bumpy one, but in Houston, that road is now brighter,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas. “We applaud Houston for this major accomplishment for a cleaner, more energy efficient city.”
“Converting all of Houston’s streetlights to LED technology is a significant win for Houston’s air quality and GHG emission reduction goals,” said Brian Yeoman, Houston Director for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. “Mayor Parker is leading the nation.”
The City has focused on energy use reduction to reduce emissions, and with good success. The City’s municipal operations emissions have realized a 32 percent decrease from the 2007 GHG emissions inventory. At the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit earlier this year, Mayor Annise Parker announced that the City of Houston will reduce GHG emissions another 10 percent by 2016. The LED streetlight conversion will bring the City closer to realizing that goal.
“I want to applaud Mayor Parker, the Parks and Recreation Department and CenterPoint for working together on connecting our city in a new way,” said Roksan Okan-Vick, Executive Director of the Houston Parks Board. “As the Houston Parks Board works to complete the Bayou Greenways 2020 project, initiatives like these will serve as important neighborhood connections and provide for greater flexibility for people and wildlife.”
Building hike and bike trails on utility ROWs will add to the City’s many initiatives, such as Houston Bike Share. The popularity of cycling in Houston is expected to increase in the future as Bayou Greenways 2020 projects are built, more bike trail gaps are filled, Sunday Street HTx grows in popularity and the City implements its Complete Streets approach.
In addition to the individuals and organizations already mentioned, the City wants to acknowledge the support of State Senator Rodney Ellis, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, City of Las Vegas Office of Sustainability and City of Asheville Office of Sustainability.
Janice Evans, Communications Director
Darian Ward, Press Secretary