This is the final, summary chapter of the Guide, which is a forthcoming report by Jen Metzger, PhD, Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium.
While the benefits of LED street lighting are substantial from a financial, environmental, and community perspective, communities whose lights are owned by the utility have been challenged to move forward because they lack information about the pathways to an LED conversion. To help fill this gap, this report has explained the options available to local governments for upgrading to LED street lights, and has described and assessed the costs and advantages of different ownership models and financial strategies. This final chapter suggests steps for implementing an LED street light project, integrating findings of this study along the way.
Conducting a third-party billing audit and a field inventory of your community’s street lights are two key first steps toward converting to LEDs. Often, the utility’s inventory of street lights is inaccurate. The lights no longer exist or wattages in the field do not match inventory. Billing audits verify currently installed equipment and often result in utility refunds for past overcharges and/or support evaluations of appropriate replacement equipment. The money saved can help reduce LED conversion project costs. A field inventory of a municipality’s street lights allows you to design optimal placement of new LEDs, taking into consideration location conditions, e.g. residential vs. commercial and areas of high pedestrian/vehicle conflict, etc.
In June 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a document titled “Guidance to Reduce Harm from High Intensity Street Lights.” The AMA presented recommendations related to possible health risks of increased short-wavelength content of outdoor lighting sources, including the conversion to LEDs from older products. As often occurs with complex scientific and technological advances, the guidance by the AMA has been misunderstood and misreported, creating confusion for consumers.
In response to many questions and concerns from communities considering street light conversions, the U.S Department of Energy has recently published two documents related to the health effects of LED street lights.
A study of the expected contributions to sky glow from converting high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting to broader-spectrum (i.e., white light) sources, with specific focus on LEDs, which presents the contributions in a manner relative to HPS baseline conditions.
A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) assembled in response to ongoing discussion of the AMA community guidance on street lighting.
By replacing conventional street lights with energy efficient LED technology, communities can reduce street light energy use by as much as 65 percent, generating cost savings and emission reductions. In addition, street light projects can contribute to creating a well-lit, safer, and more attractive community.
LED street lights last up to 100,000 hours and require much less maintenance than conventional ones. The opportunity to incorporate smart, connected technology such as dimming functions, enhanced law enforcement response, and parking management offers a world of possibilities. Even those communities that do not own their streetlights have options for converting those in their jurisdiction to LED. Download Slides
Whether your municipality decides to buy LED street lights or lease them from your utility, it is prudent to understand the activities that would go into preparing for street light conversion. In addition to contributing substantially to greenhouse gas reductions, research has demonstrated that LED street lights produce savings of up to 65 percent, which is why interest in conversion is growing exponentially statewide.
Even if your community has started down the path to conversion, new information is available about NYSERDA funding opportunities, relevant Public Service Commission filings, and finance mechanisms.
First of its kind initiative for LED conversion can cut costs by up to 65 percent and decrease greenhouse gas emissions
Announced During Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainable Development and Collaborative Governance Conference
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $790,000 is now available for cities, towns and villages in the Mid-Hudson Region through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to convert streetlights to LEDs. This initiative, which was announced during the Governor’s Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainable Development and Collaborative Governance Conference, is projected to reduce each participating municipality’s electricity costs by up to 65 percent which could result in more than $6 million in energy savings.
Building a more energy resilient New York starts with creating clean energy opportunities in
Tom Kacandes, President, Inside Track Solar, Inc. provided a case study on Community Distributed Solar
communities. Local governments can encourage smart and cost-effective energy choices in their communities, not only in government operations but in homes, businesses and community institutions.
New York State municipalities can help decrease the cost of government operations through municipal solar, solar-friendly legislation, group purchasing, and locally-organized community education and outreach.
On May 9, 52 municipal officials gathered in Cold Spring to learn about municipal and large-scale solar and community choice aggregation. They learned how to access resources such as templates for legislation, procurement, and contracts.
Municipal officials gathered at the Buying Power 101 Workshop hosted by the Eastern NY Clean Energy Communities Coordinators