In a move to make the city brighter while saving money at the same time, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is vowing to replace conventional street lights with new LED bulbs.

The effort was started by the Begich administration, but today there are still thousands of lights that need to make the change. On Thursday, Mayor Berkowitz got in a bucket truck and helped to replace one of the aging bulbs himself.

Berkowitz said the new LED lights will save money by using less energy and also maintenance costs since they won’t need changing very often.

“These LEDs generally last for about 10 years,” said Berkowitz. “Whereas [traditional] fixtures … tend to last about three years and have other failure rates as well.”

Berkowitz said there are other benefits.

“The quality of light from the LEDs is significantly better. Light pollution is reduced. You can have a more directed light and that enhances public safety and also makes for a higher quality neighborhood,” said the mayor.

The city plans to install the new bulbs in neighborhood street lights. The mayor says the switch should be finished by this fall.

Lauren Maxwell can be reached at