Huron Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Project Background

Huron Street is the gateway to downtown Ann Arbor. A street lined with residential homes and commercial buildings alike, it is a corridor that welcomes an eclectic mix of pedestrians enjoying the local shops and greenspace, as well as drivers travelling in and out of the city. But with the growing amount of activity on Huron Street came an increased need to transform it to ensure that its patrons were met with a welcome and safe environment – especially in the evening hours.

That’s why the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) began its People-Friendly Streets initiative in 2018 to create an environment that both celebrates the unique role of Huron in the community, but provides a unique sense of protection and comfort for pedestrians with increased safety at street crossings.

With its unique blend of performance and aesthetics, WE-EF’s high-performance exterior luminaries provided the lighting solutions required to not only help make Huron Street a safe and welcoming destination, but as an area that serves as a case study in adaptable design for future street use patterns.

Modern Lighting

Working alongside the Ann-Arbor DDA, SmithGroup – a global architecture and engineering firm with a presence in nearby Detroit – was in search of lighting fixtures that were modern in both form and function.

In the years leading up to the People-Friendly Streets project, the Ann Arbor DDA had been gradually replacing its “globe-like” lighting fixtures with LEDs. SmithGroup continued that trend by specifying WE-EF’s VFL540-SE LED and VFL530-SE LED products. Thanks to their design flexibility, SmithGroup was able to confidently specify each product for street level lighting, as well as at a pedestrian scale to create an element of safety not only along streets and crosswalks, but in nearby parking lots.

“I like having options because I don’t want to let the light dictate my design, I want my design to dictate the light,” said Geof Wright, Lighting Designer/Electrical Engineer, SmithGroup.

The WE-EF Solution

With their sleek form and modern lines, the VFL540 features a PMMA lens for multi-layer illumination and superior glare control with a 3000 K color temperature option that provides a soft and inviting light. The VFL540 also provides the flexibility to specify between anywhere 36-144 watts.
WE-EF’s VFL530 delivers similar flexibility with watts ranging from 12-72 and color temperature options from 2700-4000 K. With a reflection-free contour main lens and CAD-optimized optics, the VFL530 equips Huron Street with superior illumination and glare control to create a safe, well-lit environment.

Going Green

One of the additional goals of the People-Friendly Streets project was to add more greenspace to the area and make it more sustainable. WE-EF’s LED-based products provide the same sustainable solution from 25 feet in the air, that the new green areas do at ground level.

In addition to the traditional benefits of LED lighting such as low energy consumption, select WE-EF products undergo a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The LCA is part of WE-EF’s holistic approach to optimize the sustainability of its fixtures to help communities such as Ann Arbor save money and reduce the impact of lighting applications on the social, economical and ecological environments. WE-EF was one of the first companies to use EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) to provide detailed documentation in line with the application of ISO 14025 and EN 15804 standards to the ecological footprint of its exterior luminaires, across all phases of their life cycles.


Completed in the spring of 2019, SmithGroup has received positive reviews regarding WE-EF’s lighting along the Huron Street corridor, as well as the seamless installation process. Now equipped with enhanced lighting, Huron street is a more desirable destination for pedestrians and drivers alike. Huron Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan Owner: Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Architect/Designer: SmithGroup

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