Newton replaces 8,406 streetlights with LEDs

By Jim Morrison
Posted Jul. 18, 2014 @ 11:01 am


Over the next three months, Newton will replace each of it’s 8,406 streetlights with new light emitting diode, or LED, fixtures. City officials say the replacement will save the city $3 million in energy costs over the next 20 years while reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

Mayor Setti Warren said this initiative takes the city’s focus on public safety and sustainability to the next level.”With the energy savings, we can save taxpayers money,” Warren said. Director of Sustainability Rob Garrity said the city switched from the old mercury vapor lights to high-pressure sodium fixtures about seven years ago. Garrity said those lights only last about 7-8 years and the city has been replacing about 100 of them per month as they naturally burn out. That, coupled with a $250,000 grant from the Green Communities Act and $500,000 in rebates from NSTAR, makes this the perfect time to replace the fixtures, Garrity said. Those incentives cut the city’s cost of installing the fixtures in half, from $1.5 million to $750,000.

“We’re going to save enough electricity to prevent 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” Garrity said. “That’s the equivalent of the exhaust from 260 cars each year.” Garrity said the lights use less energy while producing the same amount of light. The light produced is whiter than some older model streetlights, which improves visibility. The lamp can also be adjusted as needed, which can be a boon to public safety. Garrity said there will be three crews replacing the lights throughout the summer. Each light takes about 15 minutes to replace and they’re on track to complete the project by the end of September.

Garrity said Boston was the first to replace many of their lights with the new LED fixtures and he was able to learn from some of their experience, especially through the bidding process. Brookline, Dedham and Westwood are working on similar projects.

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