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Elk Grove Street Lights Upgraded to LEDs

The City of Elk Grove, California, recently began retrofitting approximately 10,000 street light bulbs with LEDs in an attempt to save energy and lower costs over the long term. The project was undertaken after a five-year pilot program to assess LED technology.

The ultimate goal of the pilot test: Locate a light that provided comparable brightness to the existing high pressure sodium bulbs the City was using. At the same time, the City needed to significantly reduce energy costs.

The goal of the project was to save at least 50%, and the City has exceeded that number. It now saves between 60% and 70% on each retrofit, according to Jeff Werner, the City’s senior civil engineer. Overall, the LEDs are projected to save the City $400,000 each year. The City is also seeing a large savings in maintenance costs because LEDs last longer than high pressure sodium lights.

The project will be completed by March 2015.

In Other LED News

•    Ireland’s largest secondary school, Gorey Community School, recently underwent an upgrade to its lighting. The project is projected to save 65% in lighting costs for the school. According to Frank Duke, vice-principal of the school, the administration is “delighted” with the retrofit.

•    Mundelein, Illinois, plans to upgrade its streetlights with LED bulbs in 2015 or 2016. The project is projected to reduce the village’s energy costs while also reducing its footprint on the environment. The village plans to retrofit 75% of its streetlights (about 900).


ESCO Energy Services Company Installs LED Street Lights with Smart Chip Technology in Plainville, Connecticut


ESCO Energy Services Company is installing new LED streetlights in Plainville, Connecticut.

In one of the nation’s first street light conversion projects, more than 1,400 energy efficient LED street lights will replace outdated high-pressure sodium lights.

Plainville, Connecticut will save approximately $75,000 per year through the LED retrofit.

In addition, ESCO will be installing smart chips in a number of the street lights to allow for the lights to be dimmed or brightened individually or as a group.

The smart chips will also enable free WIFI access for residents.

ESCO’s comprehensive Municipal Street Light Conversion Program enables your community to cost-effectively take control of your town’s street lighting operations and achieve significant energy cost savings.

ESCO is the only New England — based company qualified to implement the CCM Streetlight Retrofit Program. We help communities control the cost of keeping their streets safe.

Call today to schedule a FREE Street Light System evaluation.

888-ASK-ESCO (275-3726)

To schedule an appointment online, click here.

Charlestown Explores Converting Streetlights to LEDs with ESCO Energy Services Company

By Jessica Iannetta


— The Board of Commissioners is exploring converting the town’s streetlights to LEDs, a move that could eventually save the town approximately $8,000 a year.

On Tuesday night, the board voted to have ESCO Energy Services Company do an energy audit of the town’s 120 streetlights, which would give the town a better idea of how much it could save from a conversion. The commissioners first started exploring the idea of converting the streetlights in August after hearing a presentation from Jack Hanley of ESCO.

In his presentation, Hanley estimated that it would cost the town about $40,000 to convert all the lights, but with a savings of about $8,000 a year, the conversion would pay for itself in about five years. The $8,000 in savings would come from the lower energy costs of LED lights and from the money Charlestown would save by buying its streetlights from Delmarva Power. Like most municipalities in the country, Charlestown rents its streetlights from a utility company.

“Municipal street light ownership is a relatively new program that’s kind of sweeping the country,” Hanley told the commissioners. “Every month somebody like (Charlestown Town Administrator) Wib (Pumpaly) writes a check and hands it off to the utility and for decades they have been charging exorbitant amounts of money for streetlights you should have owned decades ago. It’s a unique opportunity.”

If Charlestown were to buy the lights from Delmarva, the town would also have to pay for all the maintenance costs. These costs would be significant if the lights aren’t converted to LEDs as the high-pressure sodium bulbs in the lights typically need to be changed out every three to five years. But the LED lights ESCO installs are guaranteed for 10 years and have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, Hanley said.

Still, ESCO recommends that for the first 12 to 15 months towns put aside $1 a month per light as a hedge against future maintenance costs. Once the town has a better idea of annual maintenance costs, that amount can be adjusted, Hanley said. He also noted that ESCO only charges for the repairs it performs rather than a flat, annual maintenance fee.

ESCO also offers the option of having a smart chip installed in each light for an additional cost. The smart chip allows the lights to be dimmed or brightened individually or as a group. So, for example, if there’s an accident at night, a particular light or set of lights could be brightened to better illuminate the scene.

The smart chips could also be used to track the locaton bracelets often worn by Alzheimer’s patients or those with autism, a feature town commissioner Renee Capano said she found particularly attractive when she first heard about ESCO at the Maryland Municipal League conference last summer.

The town would also never have another lost dog, Hanley said, because the smart chips can track the computer chips many dogs have to prevent them from being lost. The chips could even be used to provide WiFi, Hanley said.

Even if Charlestown doesn’t want to use all these functionalities right away, installing the chips at the beginning would cost less than installing them a few years down the road.

“Think of it as making your streetlight heads cable ready,” Hanley said. “You don’t have to take all 500 channels. You can take two or three right now and as the functionality is available or desired, you can switch it on or switch it off. It’s very software-centric rather than hardware-centric.”

ESCO, which is based in Lenox, Mass., has worked with towns in Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut on streetlight conversion programs. Charlestown would be the first town ESCO works with in Maryland.

But Charlestown would not be the first town in the region to install LED lights. Last month, Newark, Del.’s city council voted to replace 2,000 streetlights with LEDs at a cost of $459,759. The move is expected to save the city $13,562 in labor costs and about $90,573 in energy costs. Baltimore also converted its 70,000 streetlights to LEDs in 2012.

On Tuesday night, Charlestown commissioners were optimistic about the idea of converting the town’s lights to LEDs as they unanimously approved the energy audit. Town clerk Janine Antoshak also suggested that, once the energy audit is done and the town has more exact numbers, Charlestown might be eligible for some energy grants to cover the initial cost of converting the lights.

Treasurer Ken Confalone called the LED conversion “a very good deal.” He also noted that the town received a grant to install LEDs in town hall and since then, electricity costs for the building have dropped dramatically.

“The benefit for us the next five years is minimal. It’s in the hundreds of dollars,” Confalone said. “But it’s going to have a huge effect on the finances of the town down the road.”


Plainville LED Street Light Installation Underway


By Ken Liebeskind
The Plainville Citizen

ESCO Energy Services, the Massachusetts company awarded the LED street lighting project in Plainville, began converting more than 1,400 high-pressure sodium lights with LED street lights on Nov. 2.

“They started at the north end of town and they’re doing about 60 to 80 lights per day and should finish the job around Thanksgiving,” Town Manager Robert Lee said.

Plainville is the first Connecticut town to install LED street lights with ESCO in a program that was coordinated by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

Kevin Maloney, a CCM spokesperson, said, “Plainville is a model that encourages other towns to go this route. They’re the first to take this important progressive step to provide lighting in a more cost effective way that will generate long and short term savings.”

Jack Hanley, director of business development at ESCO said the cost of installing LED lights is $304 per fixture, which will cost the town $467,000. But $187,000 will be saved through an Eversource rebate, reducing the cost to $280,000. The town will also save $77,000 annually on the reduced energy cost of LED lights – $33,000 for LED lights compared with $100,000 for sodium lamps.

Lee said the move to LED lights “is a better way to do things. We’ll save money on electric costs and get better performance from the LED lights.”

Plainville also plans to install chips in some of the LED lights in the downtown area that will enable free Wifi access for residents. “We’re looking for advertisers who want to be on the network so we can generate revenue to pay for operational costs,” Lee said.

ESCO will work with the town to negotiate an agreement with Comcast, ATT or another Internet carrier to provide Wifi service.


ESCO’s First LED Install on Street Light Conversion Project in Plainville, Connecticut

In one of the nation’s first street light conversion projects, more than 1,400 energy efficient LED street lights will replace outdated high-pressure sodium lights.

Plainville, Connecticut will save approximately $75,000 per year through the LED retrofit.

ESCO is the only New England — based company qualified to implement the CCM Streetlight Retrofit Program. We help communities control the cost of keeping their streets safe.

Call today to schedule a FREE Street Light System evaluation.

888-ASK-ESCO (275-3726)

To schedule an appointment online, click here.






LED Project in Pittsburgh Expands to Residential Neighborhoods

During 2012, Carnegie Mellon’s Remaking Cities Institute (RCI) led a huge project that included replacing 3,300 sodium and mercury vapor streetlights with LED bulbs in more than 30 business districts. Now, the RCI plans to help put LEDs in 90 Pittsburgh residential neighborhoods.

The Institute will create and propose recommendations, as well as technical specs, for more than 37,000 neighborhood streetlights that use LED bulbs. For the new project, RCI will assess the results achieved during 2012 within the business districts that switched to LEDs. Measurements will include how the LEDs affected security, traffic, crime and cost savings, according to RCI Director Don Carter, the study’s principal investigator.

Carter mentioned that while LEDs are more expensive than sodium vapor bulbs, he believes the research will reveal that the initial phase of the project was a great investment economically, according to

Carter stated that LEDs last 7 – 10 years, while sodium vapor lights only last 2 – 3 years. He also stated that LEDs use approximately 1/7 of the energy, so the initial investment is paid back quickly. Carter also noted that other benefits of LEDs include better directional lighting and less maintenance, as well as improved energy efficiency and safety.

To find out more about the RCI project, visit

New Car Design Center in Burbank, CA, Switches to LED Lighting Products

West Coast Customs (WCC), which offers custom automotive design solutions in Burbank, CA, recently switched to energy-efficient LED lights in its 60,000-square-foot headquarters, including its design center, showroom, and parking lot. The center utilized LED flat panels, tubes, and other LED products.

According to an article by The Herald, the switch to LED lighting will save WCC more than $26,000 each year. Also, the LED improvements equate to the following:

•    A reduction of 194,808 pounds of greenhouse gases per year
•    Saving more than 7,300 trees

WCC CEO Ryan Friedlinghaus told The Herald that after the company conducted an in-depth review of energy-efficient products, LED lighting solutions came out on top. Friedlinghaus specified that the LED upgrade uses less energy, saves money, and improves the quality of lighting.

Other benefits of the LED lighting include:

•    Burning up to 90% cooler than the fluorescent fixtures previously used
•    Emitting a cleaner and brighter light, resulting in greater visibility

This LED lighting retrofit project was featured in a two-part series of the TV show West Coast Customs, which airs on Fox Sports 2.

Louisville, Kentucky Bridge Uses LED Lighting

The Big Four Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky, now uses LED lights to provide motion and color to its structure from sunset to 1 a.m. every day. According to, starting this past February, the LEDs use a rainbow effect or a combination of several colors that “dance and move across the bridge.”

The new LEDs will display holiday themes for area visitors on certain dates, such as green LED lighting on St. Patrick’s Day, and red, white and blue LED lighting on the Fourth of July.

The bridge sits within the Louisville Waterfront Park, an eighty-five acre public park on the banks of the Ohio River. The installation included 1,472 LED lights that do not cause any glare off the bridge’s matte-rusted steel surface. According to Waterfront Development Corporation President David Karem, feedback so far from area residents and visitors has been “glowing.”

The LED lighting project cost $2.1 million, three-fourths of which was covered by private funding from more than 100 contributors. According to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the new LEDs add energy and appeal to the bridge and surrounding area.

The city plans to operate the bridge’s lighting year-round, and the LED fixtures are projected to last 10 years with a minimal operating cost.


Illinois College Invests in LED Lights to Save Energy

North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, plans to enhance its sustainability initiatives by replacing outdated lighting fixtures with LED lights. According to the Chicago Tribune, the college will spend more than $200,000 on the project thanks to a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation’s Energy Efficiency Lighting Upgrade Program.

Recent retrofits to the campus include LED additions to the Harold and Eva White Activities Center and Residence Hall/Recreation Center. As a result of the switch, the college will save about $35,000 in electricity expenses per year.

The LEDs used in the North Central College project replace fluorescent, incandescent, and metal halide lights. The LEDs utilize dimming features and occupancy sensors and will reduce energy consumption by 448,271 kilowatt hours per year, according to the Tribune. The college’s sustainability coordinator, Brittany Graham, said that the LEDs look good, reduce the school’s carbon footprint, and will save money.

Other areas on the campus that have already been through an LED retrofit include the basketball arena in Merner Field House and the pool area. The ultimate goal is to lower energy consumption on the campus by 1 million kilowatt hours per year.

Additional benefits that the LED retrofit will produce include the eradication of humming noises from the previously installed halogen lights and a higher quality of lighting.


Washington State City Upgrades to LEDs

The City of Camas, Washington, has received a Department of Commerce grant in the amount of $500,000 for a new LED lighting project, according to the Camas-Washougal Post-Record. The grant will allow the city to begin a $2.4 million project to upgrade 3,100 traditional city lights with LEDs. LED installation will take place throughout 2015.

Public Works Director Steve Wall said that the investment makes good sense because of the benefits of switching to LEDs, such as better energy efficiency, which results in reduced bulb replacement. Other benefits include reduced maintenance costs and better quality of lighting. The move to LEDs came on the heels of a move by the city to improve energy efficiency, as well as lesson its footprint on the environment.

According to city officials, during the first year after installing the LEDs, maintenance and energy savings are estimated to fall by about $115,000. Then, officials expect maintenance costs to continue decreasing each year beyond that, and estimated savings will increase by 2% every year. The city’s mayor, Scott Higgins, said he hopes that during the project, they will discover other areas that need LED lighting.

Two LED lighting pilot projects were previously carried out in Camas and Washougal, Washington. During the projects, 100 street lights were replaced with LEDs. Officials stated that after the replacement, costs decreased and bulb reliability increased.