Cree Inc., a Durham, N.C. maker of LED solid-state lighting components, and the City of Raleigh announced today an "LED City" initiative designed to illustrate the benefits of LED lighting. The first installation is in Raleigh's municipal building parking deck; in the next 18 months, the city will also install LEDs in garage and parking lot lights, street lights, architectural and accent lighting, portable lighting and pedestrian and walkway lighting. LED-based lighting fixtures provided by Lighting Science Group Corp. of Dallas were installed by Amtech Lighting Services in the Raleigh Municipal Building parking deck in December 2006. Progress Energy, Raleigh's primary electric utility provider, said the parking deck floor equipped with LED lights uses at least 40 percent less energy than the standard lighting system and that the quality of light in the garage is "greatly improved." Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said, "The economic benefits for municipalities to invest in LEDs are clear. They save energy, reduce environmental impact and improve the quality of light." Kateri Callahan, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance to Save Energy, said the Raleigh LED City project is "a milestone toward large-scale adoption of clean, energy-efficient technologies. Raleigh's progressive commitment to becoming the first 'LED City' will no doubt serve as a model for other cities seeking to improve energy consumption and reduce negative impacts on the environment."