Trade Resources Industry Views Newton expand LED Street Lights to all streets in the coming year

Newton expand LED Street Lights to all streets in the coming year

Tom Butler, an electrician for the City of Newton Public Buildings Department, uses tape on a sensor to make an LED street light turn on.

Newton, Massachusetts - City crews have installed a series of energy efficient LED street lights around City Hall as a pilot program that could expand to all Newton streets in the coming year.

A total of 26 lights were installed along Homer Street, Walnut Street and Commonwealth Avenue last week at a cost of $10,000. The lights use just less than half the energy of the standard 100-watt bulb, and city officials hope to extend the system to all 8,400 streetlights in the city.

Bob Rooney, the city’s chief operating officer, said there are a number of benefits that would come from the lights, including reduced energy use, expanded life and the potential for remote control.

The lights would save the city approximately $275,000 each year if fully installed, Rooney said. The citywide expansion would cost an estimated $1.6 million and would require approval from the Board of Aldermen. Rooney said the cost for the lights would be bonded over 10 years.

Rooney said he first looked into LED lights when he was Public Works commissioner, but there wasn’t a bulb on the market that produced abundant white light. Now that these lights are on the market, the decision should be an easy one.

"We want to do it this year," said Rooney. "I haven’t seen the downside yet."

Rooney said the new lights would also fit with Mayor Setti Warren’s continued push for energy sustainability. City officials estimate previous energy reducing efforts provide the city $2 million in annual savings.

Part of the reason for the pilot installation is to get feedback from residents about the lights. So far, city officials said, there hasn’t been any negative feedback.

In 2007 the city began using sodium lights. Those lamps are reaching the end of their life expectancy, so now is an ideal time to make the switch, Rooney said. The LED lights would last between 15 and 20 years, which could lead to savings from labor costs in replacing the lights.

Director of Transportation Bill Paille said the city typically relies on residents calling in about light outages to know when to change a bulb. The new system could be part of a network that would electronically notify city employees about an outage.

"We’re trying to be proactive," said Paille. "We want to know before someone trips or falls or calls it in."

Rooney said there are other potential add-ons that could be useful, including light dimmers for overnight hours and solar panels to make the lights self-charging. The lights would also cast a more direct light, meaning less light pollution for neighbors.

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LED Street Lights Will Installed at All Newton Streets in 2014
Topics: Lighting