Project Overview: ET-0030
The City has converted all City-owned streetlights* to more energy efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures. The LED conversion is projected to cut energy consumption from streetlights by half, reducing approximately 2 million pounds of CO2 output annually, and will directly support the City's Climate Action Plan goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions locally by 70 percent by the year 2020.
The City Council approved the retrofit on April 13, 2015. The City used a $3.5 million energy efficiency loan from State LOCAL Program financing, in addition to a $500,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and PSE rebates to fund the project, which will be paid back over 12 years through the savings generated from installing LED streetlights.
The conversion started in November 2015, and was completed in 2016. The old lighting system used to be controlled by a photo cell at the service cabinet on the street. The new LED lights will all be individually controlled via a smart network that will allow remote communications for dimming, on and off times, burned out lamps, etc. During the conversion some fixtures must remain on full-time while our new network gets installed.
*Wooden poles are owned by Puget Sound Energy (PSE), not the City. PSE is in the process of converting LED lights on its poles. For questions or concerns about lighting changes on wooden poles, phone (888) 225-5773.
Benefits of LED
LED technology can deliver better lighting with 50 to 60 percent less energy than old high-pressure sodium lights.
Quality of Light
LED streetlights will provide more visibility on our streets. The new fixtures deliver improved vertical light distribution, reduce light trespass (both horizontally and vertically), excellent color qualities and clearer lighting on our community streets. They are also dark-sky compliant, reducing light pollution.
Improved Public Safety
LED lights provide better illumination, and support the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). These LED lights will provide greater visibility for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers at night.
The LED lights are expected to save the City approximately $200,000 annually. The LED lights are guaranteed to last 10 years, and are expected to last 20 years, versus the old, high pressure sodium lights, which needed to be replaced every 3-5 years. The LED fixtures are also 100% recyclable and don't use any toxic substances.
LED lights come with features that will allow for remote monitoring and controlling of the lights. This will allow the system to detect failures and report them automatically. It can also be used for late-night dimming, which will result in additional energy savings.
Higher initial cost. The initial cost of the LED light can be up to three times as much as HPS lights. That higher initial cost is recovered and converted to cost savings over the life of the light
Mimicking daylight. LED lights produce a whiter light compared to HPS. This has the potential to disrupt individual circadian rhythms more than the yellow light of HPS. The upside of the whiter light is it is easier for the human eye to distinguish details and colors leading to research into the idea of using less light on our roadways.
Brightness. LED lights tend to be brighter than HPS when looking directly at the light source. This may cause more discomfort for aging eyes as it takes more time to adjust eyesight to lighting conditions.
Risk. The implementation of any new technology comes with risks, especially for early implementers. For instance, the lower life cycle costs expected from LED are based on projections and not actual case studies because LED lighting is new. However, projections are based on standard testing procedures.
Currently only City-owned streetlights are being replaced. PSE lights will likely be replaced in the future.