Sustainable street lighting; Coming to a street near you?
Richardson found high pressure sodium lighting to be an attractive and less expensive alternative to LED lighting. He says that if a town wants to switch to high pressure sodium lighting they must file a request with NYSEG and they will do an audit and an estimate. If the town wants to upgrade to LED lights, they must file a request with NYSEG and they will provide an estimate to disconnect the service and remove the existing fixtures. The town would then pay an independent contractor to make the installations. The town would be responsible for the cost of the fixtures and the charge from NYSEG to disconnect the power and reconnect the power when the install is complete. (For more information and the estimated costs, see the sidebar.)
Even though LEDs are more costly, Richardson says it’s worth it. “It could be pricey to make a complete jump to LED, but you get a huge savings down the road. Those lights last forever.” Richardson wants to get the information about energy efficient lighting out there and encourages municipalities to think about it.
After hearing Richardson’s research, Town of Lumberland supervisor and CAP board member Nadia Rajsz wants to start looking into alternative light sources for her town. The route she is going for is solar-powered lights. She says that right now she is in the information-gathering phase and is looking into the cost. She says she wants to find the best lighting for the least amount of money for the taxpayer.
Stephen Stuart is the co-executive director of Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development. SASD is supplying technical assistance for the Tusten Energy Survey, part of a town-wide initiative to improve energy efficiency and to reduce energy costs in homes, businesses and in-town operations. In 2012, Tusten became the first town in Sullivan County to join Climate Smart Community Pledge. Stuart says they will use the results from the survey to make a plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions. One of the ways to do that could be energy efficient street lighting. Stuart says the Town of Tusten uses $15,000 a year to light its streets, and switching to LED lights could cut that cost in half.