The unglamourous glory of safer streets

Sponsored content: Efficient lighting in Melipilla, Chile, helps locals reclaim public space and frees up resources for other civic needs

LED lighting in one of Melipilla's parks (Photo: ©CIF, 2018)


Melipilla is a town close to Santiago and home to a little over 100,000 people. It’s a sprawling community, covering an area of 1300 square kilometers, slightly larger than New York City.

The Climate Investment Funds, in cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank,  is providing energy efficient solutions to help Melipilla and other communities in Chile.

In Melipilla, the effort involves replacing conventional street lights with energy-saving LED lamps. The mayor and local police are thrilled with the results.

Since the adoption of LED public lighting, criminal activity is down. Furthermore, the community is enjoying public spaces in a manner unseen before, venturing into parts of the city that used to be dark and uninviting. Families spend more time outside after sunset, with adults socializing and children playing nearby. A new sense of confidence and joy permeates the night.

“The new lighting system has meant regaining ownership of forgotten places,” said Marcelo Lefort, CEO of project contractor Itelecom.

City officials are also delighted that the introduction of LED lighting has translated into financial savings, allowing the local administration to spend more on other civic needs. One urgent need was potable water. Some parts of the city lacked drinking water but now have access to that basic need, thanks to the added resources the city can now mobilize.

Energy efficiency may not seem glamorous, but it is just as effective as other clean energy practices. When it came to Melipilla, it brought light and water to the community, as well as fun and safety.

This post is sponsored by the Climate Investment Funds. See our editorial guidelines for what this means.