Savings from city lights project under consideration

Aug. 31, 2013 @ 06:52 PM

The City of Henderson is looking to start testing the use of LED streetlights at several intersections as older models reach eligibility for replacement by Duke Energy Progress.

If 1,777 lights in the city that are 20 years old or older were switched light-for-light from the less efficient types, the savings would be more than $70,000 per year, according to a city report.

Henderson’s director of engineering, Peter Sokalski, said Friday those are rough estimates that can be impacted if the testing shows more lights are needed because of the perception by residents that the LED lighting is not as bright.

“It is a proposal or potential for savings based on a one-for-one switching to the new lights,” Sokalski said. “The LED lights will emit the similar level of light as the sodium vapor lights, but the perception is different.”

According to Sokalski, the older vapor-emitted light shines outward more that the LED lights that are more downward directed.

“The overall perception is that they’re darker,” he added. “We would like to test two or three areas, and then we’ll see what the comments are before we do a complete change over.”

According to reports from city manager Ray Griffin, the upgrades would come at no cost to the city because of the eligibility of the older lights.

As of January, an estimated count of 1,866 streetlights are billed to the city, and 1,777 are 20 years old or older and therefore can be replaced by the Duke Energy program.

“They are estimating that those will save about $78,000 a year,” Griffin said during a city council work session this week.

Griffin acknowledged the issue with less output or lumens, and opinions by residents are likely to vary widely on the issue of using the LED lights.

“Some more positives are the LEDs appear to have less failure, therefore decreasing the time of reporting and repairing lights that are not working,” he said.

According to a staff report given during the council work session, Duke Energy would complete a streetlight inventory, and the complete changeover project would take approximately a year, more if impacted by material supplies being unavailable because of a heavy demand for LED fixtures.

Council members agreed in principle to testing the new lighting fixtures. The testing would involve installing three or four streetlights at several intersections, then noting any comments by residents of that area and responding to any concerns.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.