City of Barrie converts to LED street light system with $962K IESO incentive

Sept. 30, 2016
++ 10,622 LED street lights installed in 57 days
++ $950,000 in energy and maintenance savings
++ 60% reduction in energy consumption
++ 50% savings in energy costs
++ Up to 80% in reduced maintenance costs
++ Approximately 12,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas eliminated over the life of the luminaire, equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 2,535 passenger vehicles driven for one year

The City of Barrie is located in Central Ontario, Canada, on the western shore of Lake Simcoe, a short one-hour drive from the City of Toronto. Barrie, home to 143,634 residents, is situated within the northern part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the most densely populated and industrialized region in Ontario.

In 2014, the Municipality of Barrie wanted to significantly reduce its energy consumption, maintenance costs and the environmental impact associated with its network of street lights. By installing LED street lights, the City realized that it could not only achieve substantial energy and cost savings, but also improve its overall lighting quality and thus its roadway safety for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The LED retrofit was approved by the City Council as part of the 2015 Budget, at a cost of approximately $5,000,000. However, the City determined that this upgrade would save more than twice that amount in energy and maintenance costs over the next 10 years. LED street lights are projected to reduce Barrie’s energy consumption by 60% and its maintenance costs by up to 80% per year. The new LED lights also included a 10-year warranty. These energy savings are projected to be 5,179,672 kWh per year, which is equivalent to an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 518 metric tonnes.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) Incentive Program that applies to exterior LED lighting paid for a substantial portion of the LED street light Project. The City applied for the program and was approved for an incentive in the amount of $962,000, or
nearly 20% of the total cost of the project.

Barrie’s City Council entrusted partners LAS and RealTerm Energy to assess its existing street light network, create an energy efficient and cost-effective street lighting design and coordinate the purchase and installation of the new LED lights from Cree Canada, one of the world’s leading LED manufacturers. Working with LAS, RealTerm Energy and Cree Canada, Barrie was able to take advantage of the expertise and buying power of a province‑wide partnership to install a cost-effective solution to the problem of rising energy and maintenance costs.

“We selected LAS’ street light Program because we were confident that the partners were in a position to finish our project in the timelines we required. Their relationship with Cree, their installation record and IESO application experience put them at the front of the line to get the project done quickly and properly,” said Barry Thompson, Manager of Energy Management for the City of Barrie. “Plus, we believe the LAS program represented the right approach to the project. Many municipalities seemed to be going with a one-for‑one replacement and we trusted the GIS mapping and the photometric design to bring additional value to the project,” continued Thompson.

In the fall of 2015, RealTerm Energy delivered a complete turnkey LED street light upgrade in the City of Barrie. The Municipality had ambitious goals of finishing the entire project by the end of 2015 in order to qualify for the provincial incentive.

With a proven installation protocol that allowed for rapid deployment without any sacrifice in the quality of the installation, the conversion of all 10,622 LED street lights was completed in 57 working days, several weeks ahead of the original completion date. Installation crews worked day and night to make this happen. RealTerm Energy also provided a real-time installation map that was posted on the City’s website allowing the installation progress to be tracked by all residents.

“The LED street light conversion project went very smoothly. We found their field crew to be extremely responsive to any issues or requests we made and everything was done in a very professional manner,” added Thompson.

The LED retrofit has delivered a number of improvements to the City. Firstly, a substantial drop in energy use and corresponding drop in its utility bills gave the municipality a $280,000 cost avoidance in 2015, which was unforeseen at the outset of the project, owing to RealTerm Energy completing the project well ahead of schedule. In 2016, a full year of energy cost reductions of nearly $700,000 and maintenance costs reduction of $253,440 are expected. Secondly, with better lighting quality and reduced light pollution, the city has noticeably less excessive brightness in its lighting profile. One of the concerns residents had expressed prior to the project going ahead was that LED might be too bright. However, through Real Term Energy’s design process and LED colour selection from the wide catalogue range of Cree fixtures, this has turned out to be not a concern at all.

The partnership between LAS, RealTerm Energy and Cree is leading the LED street light upgrades across Ontario communities in over 150 cities and towns including Niagara Falls, Georgina and Barrie.


Scott Vokey, Director of Government Relations and Community Solutions - Real Term Energy