Upper Arlington News

Retrofitted street lights should save city money

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A project to retrofit street lights along Lane Avenue with induction lamps is part of a continuing effort to lower energy costs and reduce the impact on the environment, according to city officials.

This year, the Upper Arlington Public Services Department's Electrical Division began replacing 150-watt high-pressure sodium and 250-watt mercury-vapor lamps along Lane Avenue with 80-watt induction lamps.

The work, which is taking place between Northwest Boulevard and North Star Road, is expected to conclude next month.

According to Upper Arlington Electrical Division Superintendent Steven Telfer, that project -- as well as lamp replacements taking place on Waltham Road -- is the latest in a nearly decade-old initiative by the city to outfit local streets and municipal facilities with modern, more efficient equipment.

"An 80-watt induction lamp is equivalent to a 150-watt high-pressure sodium lamp," Telfer said. "That gives you 59 percent energy savings.

"Plus, for recycling purposes, the induction lamps only contain one-tenth the amount of mercury as high-pressure sodium, which provides cost savings and is better for the environment."

The cost of the poles, light fixtures and wiring for that Lane Avenue work is approximately $106,574, according to the city's finance department.

Additionally, costs associated with installing updated lighting on Waltham Road as the city reconstructs the roadway and builds a traffic roundabout are approximately $277,844.

Despite those initial costs, Telfer said, the new lighting virtually pays for itself over several years.

"Every contractor, every project is going in this direction," he said. "It's not going to be very long that you won't be able to buy incandescent bulbs and you aren't going to be able to buy high-pressure sodium lamps.

"In a sense, it's very cost-effective. Typically, if you convert to more efficient fixtures, energy savings typically pay for the new equipment within five years."

In 2010, Upper Arlington City Council approved the purchase of 700, 15-watt induction lamps to be installed throughout neighborhoods south of Lane Avenue.

Those lamps cost a total of $122,500. However, after receiving rebates from AEP Ohio for going to "greener" lighting, the cost was reduced to $98,900.

Further, Telfer said, the new lamps have a minimum 100,000-hour life expectancy, which far exceeds previous lighting.

"We were replacing more than one-half of those lamps every year in that system and one-third of the ballasts," he said. "Since we converted, we have replaced maybe 3 percent."

In addition to street lighting, Telfer said the city has updated lighting in its municipal buildings and parking lots.

He said all of the city's 51 traffic signalized intersections also feature traffic and pedestrian signals with more efficient light-emitting diode equipment.

"We're constantly putting in more efficient lamps throughout the city," Telfer said. "We've been doing that probably for the last eight or nine years."

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