City installing energy-friendly white LED streetlights

2011-04-14T22:59:00Z 2011-04-15T22:42:54Z City installing energy-friendly white LED streetlightsKEVIN COURTNEY Napa Valley Register
April 14, 2011 10:59 pm  • 

At night, motorists driving the high arc of the Maxwell Bridge can feel they are soaring into the starry sky.

That feeling of leaving ordinary Napa behind is now all the greater since the city installed LED streetlights on the span. Their crisp white light contrasts with the soft yellow from the high-pressure sodium streetlights elsewhere in the city.

Using a $100,000 federal grant, the city replaced 148 sodium streetlights earlier this year with energy-efficient LED fixtures, said Phil Brun, deputy director of city Public Works.

Besides the Maxwell Bridge, LED streetlights are whitening the night on Soscol Avenue between Silverado Trail and Lincoln Avenue and on California Boulevard between First Street and Pueblo Avenue, Brun said.

On Tuesday night, the City Council will be asked to commit another $100,000 in federal money to convert another 146 streetlights on major streets: Jefferson Street between Lincoln and Third Street, Trancas Street between Highway 29 and Old Soscol Road and Soscol from Lincoln to Big Ranch Road.

“I call it a whiter, brighter light,” Brun said. “It’s a cleaner light.”

More importantly, the conversion of 294 streetlights should save the city almost $23,000 on its $300,000 annual streetlight electricity bill, said Andrea Fox, the city’s sustainability coordinator.

There’s also a big maintenance payout, said Steve Crego, the city’s electrical superintendent. LED fixtures are supposed to last 10 years, or about 30,000 hours, which is twice as long as today’s high-pressure sodium bulbs, he said.

The white LED streetlights are a return to yesteryear. Before Pacific Gas & Electric installed yellow-glow sodium lamps more than a quarter century ago, Napa had mercury vapor streetlights that burned white, Crego said.

Today, Napa owns its streetlights, having bought them from PG&E in 1985, Crego said.

Napa contracted with PG&E to replace the high-pressure sodium lights. The utility has completed similar projects in 12 cities and is working in 12 more, PG&E spokesperson Katie Romans said Thursday.

LED lights typically use 36 percent less energy and do a better job of focusing their white beam on streets and sidewalks, Romans said. High-pressure sodium lights scatter, creating visual “pollution,” she said.

Napa couldn’t afford to invest in LED fixtures but for a U.S. Department of Energy grant, Brun said. The money is coming from a much larger federal economic recovery allocation of $700,000 to support energy conservation in the city.

The conversion of 294 streetlights is but the start of a long process. The city has some 6,000 streetlights, Crego said.

Streetlights on the city’s thoroughfares consume as much as 400 watts, compared to 70 watts on residential streets, which is why the city is converting lights on major streets first, Crego said.

Using $52,907 in federal money, the city has retrofitted the lights in the Second Street garage, the Las Flores Community Center, Fire Station No. 4 in south Napa and the Corporation Yard. The new bulbs aren’t LED, but they consume less electricity, Fox said.

These building changeovers should reap an annual energy savings of $11,211, Fox said.

In every case, the reduction in energy use means fewer greenhouse gases, which is good for the planet, Fox said.

Napa motorist already have years of LED experience. The city made its traffic signal LED more than a decade ago, Crego said.

Staff will ask the council Tuesday to approve spending $94,898 in additional federal money to swap out old-fashioned lights at other city buildings as well as the Clay and Pearl garages. The annual payback from this investment should be $33,600, Fox estimated.

This spring and summer, Fox will be leading city efforts to create “sustainability plans” for both city properties and the community. Task forces representing assorted interests will develop these plans, she said.

These plans will “create a road map of what we could do” as funds are available, Brun said.

One of her jobs, Fox said, is to find government and private sector grants to help with the greening of Napa.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(14) Comments

  1. Dirty Napkin
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    Dirty Napkin - April 15, 2011 5:31 am
    Its jarring at first. Blinding even. Hope it saves some money, because it looks odd.
  2. larrysbird
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    larrysbird - April 15, 2011 7:22 am
    It might feel like you are leaving "ordinary" Napa behind while you are on the bridge, but when you get off the bridge it the same "ordinary" Napa with our closed businesses and streets in disrepair. The downtown area is a checkerboard of closures and fancy, expensive restaurants. I try not to drive there because it is just depressing.
  3. OK sooner
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    OK sooner - April 15, 2011 7:56 am
    Energy saving mercury lights? how much of the energy savings are eaten up by high energy, hazmat recycling? I have not seen this addressed. What happens when a bulb breaks and washes into the river? Read about how you are to treat these bulbs according to OSHA. I would rather catch rattlesnakes.
  4. ebeanman
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    ebeanman - April 15, 2011 8:13 am
    Another $100,000 wasted. Why not use all this giveaway money to balance the damn budget. Why have the lights anyways. Thats why automobiles come equiped with headlights remember. High and low beams. And now ridiculous daytime running lights. Bikes can have headlights, humans have flashlights. This is light pollution. And money waste. Finally, if I wanted to feel like I was soaring into the starry sky at night, Id go flying. Not drive across the Maxwell Bridge. All the more reason to avoid Napa alltogether.
  5. seasoned citizen
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    seasoned citizen - April 15, 2011 8:39 am
    If I did the math right,the actual "savings" over the life span of the 294 lights would only be $8300 per year. And this does not take into consideration the cost to "contract PGE" or the cost to implement and run the program. Another very annoying point is the article refers to "federal monies" as if it were free.
    We all know that not the case Don't we??
  6. apartmentguy
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    apartmentguy - April 15, 2011 8:56 am
    People who have excessive credit card debt seem to buy all sorts of unneeded items and then always have some justification for it. Our government does the same thing.
  7. Old Time Napkin
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    Old Time Napkin - April 15, 2011 9:12 am
    More federal dollars to perform a task that is not needed. I wonder how many "clean enregy jobs" this created? My guess is zero. Left out of the article is how long do these new bulbs last and the cost to replace them.
  8. post-it
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    post-it - April 15, 2011 9:59 am
    I suggest some of you do a bit more closer reading.

    The LED lights replace SODIUM vapor lights, which replaced the Mecury vapor lights long ago.

    factor in the cost savings of the extended life cycle (2X) which will alleviate the need to send crews to replace lights. That labor savings alone is substantial.
  9. ebeanman
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    ebeanman - April 15, 2011 10:44 am
    Rip the lights out. Send the federal money back to the feds and tell them to start focusing on balancing the budget.
  10. Rocket
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    Rocket - April 15, 2011 12:58 pm
    These lights were payed for with grant money for energy savings projects.Not with general fund budget money. The lights that were replaced were HIGH Pressure Sodium Vapor lights, HPSV lamps need to be replaced about every 3-5 years, and require hazmat recycling. To replace the lights on the bridge traffic control must be set up for maintnance of the old fixtures (2-3 people). The new lights are LED lamps ( light emitting diode). much smaller in size for recycling. The paper is wrong these lights do not last 10 yrs., but between 15-25 yrs. with no maintnance,Also these use about half of the power as the old. Half the power,and over half the maintnance , sounds good to me. This price also includes all cost of contracting with PG&E ,installation, disposal of the old fixtures and lamps properly. Not all change is bad....
  11. allhaileris
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    allhaileris - April 15, 2011 3:39 pm
    Is there a reason Mr. Courtney couldn't refer to this as the Imola Street Bridge? I live a few blocks away and noticed the glaring lights recently, wondered if it was the same bridge but had to Google it to figure it out.

    Between these lights and the new Fresh & Easy, I will now have to invest in heavier drapes for the bedroom. They're TOO bright. Can somebody turn them down a little?
  12. crooked6pence
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    crooked6pence - April 15, 2011 7:27 pm
    A cheap 400 watt high pressure sodium bulb can be bought at Home Depot for $21.95 each and is rated at 24,000 hours. This price would drop substantially if you buy in bulk.

    An LED light bought by Napa costs $680.30 each on average.

    An LED that lasts 10 years and is rated for 30,000 hours is being operated 8.25 hours a day. Using this number you can calculate that based on 24,000 hours, a 400w HPS bulb will last about 8 years.

    In 8 years it will cost $6,465 to replace the 294 lights using 400w HPS bulbs.

    In 10 years it is going to cost $200,000 to replace the LED's when they burn out. Hopefully the Feds are still handing out grants.

    Energy savings are reported to be $23,000/year x 10 years = "savings" of $230,000. Now factor in the cost to achieve said savings = $200,000. So someone thought it was a bright idea, to spend $200,000 to save $230,000 - a net savings of $30,000.

    What is the wattage on the LEDs again? Oh, that important fact is missing from the article!
  13. OK sooner
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    OK sooner - April 15, 2011 7:37 pm
    1st post did not go through on blue light dangers, google that too!.. point... why change at this time? FAD!!!
  14. Rocket
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    Rocket - April 16, 2011 10:12 am
    What is the wattage of the LED's ? They are 103 watts,the old lights were 200 watts. The output lumiuns are the same ,the led's are top of the line Beta fixtures, the manufacture guarantees the fixtures for 50,000 hrs. Not 10,000 hrs. And should last up to 75,000 hrs.HPSV dont last 8 yrs.They last about 3-5 yrs. Because of the vibrations on the bridge these HPSV lamps only last about 2+ yrs. Remember leds are maintnance free. There is more than a $21.95 cost to maintain a HPSV fixture, ( starters ,ballast, lens,etc.).
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