City to get more LED street lighting

Several hundred more LED streetlights will be installed in new subdivisions across Red Deer as the City of Red Deer endeavours to achieve long-term savings from the energy-efficient fixtures.

Several hundred more LED streetlights will be installed in new subdivisions across Red Deer as the City of Red Deer endeavours to achieve long-term savings from the energy-efficient fixtures.

The city will issue a request for proposals on 350 light emitting diode (LED) lights, with plans that they’ll be installed sometime this year.

Last year, the city bought 150 LED lights so they could be put up in the neighbourhoods of Timberstone and Vanier Woods, a project which is continuing. As well, some of those lights will go into Garden Heights.

Garfield Lee, senior distribution manager for Electric, Light and Power, said there are no immediate plans to retrofit lights in existing neighbourhoods.

“It’s clear that the overall energy efficiency and cost of installing an LED light is better than buying a new HPS light,” said Lee, referring to the traditional high pressure sodium lights.

However, if a working HPS light is replaced with an LED light, then this is more costly, said Lee.

“To do that retrofit will save money, but there is a large initial capital cost,” said Lee on Wednesday.

“The city is being cautious on where it’s spending large capital projects right now.”

The city has about 11,000 streetlights.

Developers are responsible for paying for streetlights in new subdivisions, so there isn’t a cost to the city.

There is a tax-supported budget for streetllight energy and operating costs. Typical annual operating costs are $1.2 million for the electricity and $310,000 for the maintenance, repair and replacement.

“Eventually, the cost of replacing these (HPS) lights with LED ones will go up, but at the same time, the cost of energy will go down, so we should end up with net savings,” said Lee.

Red Deer is looking to install more and more LED lights after it ran a successful pilot project in the summer of 2010.

A total of 22 LED lights and high-efficiency metal halide lights were installed in eight sections along Addington Drive in the neighbourhood of Anders.

Some of those lights used half the power of the current model.

Different suppliers installed them on loan and once the study was done, the lights were replaced with HPS.

Residents were generally impressed with what they saw.

An online survey showed that more than 90 per cent of them replied that LED lighting is better (brighter, better colour, more evenly lit and less glare), or the same as high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights.

The study also looked at electricity use. LED and metal halide lights were found to use 40 to 60 per cent less energy than HPS.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com