Surrey, B.C., is upgrading all of its streetlights to LED technology — a move that will cost $11 million, which the city says it will recuperate in savings over time. 

"I think everybody else should be looking at the cost benefit analysis that's here," said Mike Starchuka Surrey city councillor and the chair of the environmental sustainability advisory committee.

"When you start using less energy, it only makes sense." 

According to Starchuk, the city will save $1 million annually, with $700,000 of that coming from energy savings alone.

The rest of the savings will come in the form of a reduction in maintenance. He said the 28,000 new lights will have a shelf life of more than 20 years, which will also mean a lot less landfill waste.

"I know we're going to be one of the first in the country to be completely converted over," he said. 

Council voted unanimously to upgrade to LED technology. The economic and environmental advantages aren't the only reason they voted to go ahead with the conversion — Starchuk said the LED lights are brighter, which should lead to improved public safety.

"They produce a very eye-catching amber light," he said.

Phase one of the change over will start with more than 7,000 street lights in the Guilford and City Centre neighbourhoods.

Wit files from Deborah Goble