DEC 2012 – Conversion of downtown streetlights to LED nearly complete

The City of Redlands has begun the first phase of a project to eventually convert all of the City’s street lights to more efficient, longer-lasting Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting, beginning with some 250 street lights in the historic downtown.  Meeting a commitment to the City Council last summer to complete the first phase of the lighting conversion before the Dec. 1 Redlands Christmas Parade, City staff began work Nov. 12 and have replaced high pressure sodium bulbs in more than 200 decorative “acorn” street lights downtown with the new LED lights. In addition, almost 50 cobra head street lights downtown have also been converted from HPS to LED lights. The remainder of the Phase I conversion is expected to be complete by the end of November.

On July 26, the City Council awarded the contract for Phase I of the LED Streetlight Conversion Project to Chino-based Flatiron Electric Group. Phase I included the area of Orange Street from Pearl Avenue to Citrus Avenue, State Street from Orange Street to Redlands Boulevard and Fifth and Ninth Streets from State Street to Citrus Avenue.

The decorative acorn lights found in downtown Redlands used a 70-watt HPS light. A 55-watt LED light provides the same luminance using 21 percent less energy. Similarly, 200-watt and 150-watt HPS cobra heads can be converted to 106-watt and 67-watt LED lights, providing the same luminance at an energy savings of 47 percent and 55 percent respectively.

While the luminance of the lower watt LED lights is the same as the higher watt HPS bulbs, in some areas the new lights may appear even brighter because the more focused beams of the LED lights throw more light directly on the ground.

In addition, LED fixtures have a longer useful life than HPS fixtures. The life expectancy of an LED light is 50,000 hours, vastly exceeding the life expectancy of HPS, between 7,000-15,000 hours. With the City typically powering its streetlights for 11 hours per day, HPS lights would need to be replaced every 5 1/2 years, while LED lights would last more than 12 years.

The $211,000 Phase I conversion project is partially paid for through more than $61,000 in Southern California Edison rebates, including more than $11,000 for LED rebates. In addition, the City estimates nearly $20,000 in annual energy savings and $30,000 in one-time salary savings as part of the project.

In comparison to HPS streetlights, LED streetlights are innovative, energy efficient, environmentally friendly and in-line with the City of Redlands’ goal of being a progressive and sustainable city.

Few municipalities have even considered LED technology for their street light program. By developing and implementing a comprehensive master plan for conversion of HPS to energy-saving LED lighting, Redlands is leading the way in taking advantage of this advanced technology.

Additional areas will be converted as the City realizes savings from the LED conversion and other funding becomes available.