Will Columbus residents prefer mellow yellow or bright white?

Will Columbus residents prefer mellow yellow or bright white?

A pilot project to find out the answer to that question is underway on a stretch of Northridge Road in Clintonville, although people from throughout the city are being encouraged to weigh in.

New LED lights have been installed on that street between Indianola Avenue and Granden Road.

These lights, said Public Utilities Department Assistant Director John Ivanic, use the Kelvin temperature measurement scale to describe the "relative color appearance of a light source."

In the Northridge Road test area, one section of lights is 4,000 Kelvin -- whiter than the 3,000-Kelvin section, which is more yellow-gold, Ivanic wrote in an announcement.

The streetlight poles in the pilot project are labeled "3K" or "4K," said Kristian Fenner, an assistant administrator in the public utilities department.

People are being asked to provide comments on which of the light spectrums they would most like to see as old streetlights are replaced with new-generation LED lights and in any areas where streetlights are being added.

"We're not installing any new high-pressure sodium lights," said James Gross, an assistant administrator in the department. "We're moving to the more energy-efficient LED lighting."

But which one? Public preference will help determine that.

Ivanic said comments from residents in the area and across central Ohio will be accepted until 4 p.m. Nov. 23. Residents can email streetlights@columbus.gov or mail comments to Danny Jones, Streetlight Engineering Manager, Division of Power, 3500 Indianola Ave., Columbus 43214.

"It's not a vote," Fenner said. "It's not going to be a count. We really are just looking for some input and some thoughtful feedback. We do not want to go into the voting booth with this."

The final decision will be made by Tracie Davis, public utilities director, in consultation with Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and members of City Council, Gross said.

"There is a desire to make a relatively quick decision," he added. "Certainly by the early part of next year, we hope to have this finalized."

A few years ago, and somewhat counterintuitively, the higher-temperature 4,000 Kelvin LED lights were more energy-efficient, Gross said. More recently, however, the difference between the 4,000 and 3,000 Kelvin has become sufficiently negligible that public preference is as valid a method in making a choice as any other, he said.

"Will that gap in energy savings continue to diminish? We would expect that," Gross said.