Outdoor Lighting: California and Iowa cities get LED street lights

Beaumont, California enters the third year of a comprehensive street-light upgrade project while Urbandale and Ankeny, Iowa jointly win an EECBG award for SSL street lights.

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The city of Beaumont, California began an LED street-light upgrade project in 2008 and hopes to complete the installations in 2011 using fixtures manufactured by the Stresscrete Group. A US Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) totaling $290,860 will allow the cities of Urbandale and Ankeny, Iowa to retrofit street lights with solid-state lighting (SSL) with a goal of 40% energy savings.

Cobra head LED luminaires light roadways

Beaumont recently posted an article about the LED street-light project on its city web site proclaiming the LED lights as “the talk of the town." With LEDs, the city sought to both reduce energy costs and comply with a Dark Sky ordinance that the city adopted back in 2005 and that was highlighted in another recent web article from the city. The city notes that the 163 LED street lights that it has already installed do a better job of focusing the light on the ground compared to the high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights that were replaced.

Beaumont has utilized a mixture of decorative post-top LED luminaires in areas such as the city’s Old Town area along with cobra head luminaires for roadway lighting. According to an article on the New Streetlights website, the city has already installed around 200 King Luminaire fixtures from Stresscrete and will add 32 more luminaires this year. Electrical contractor Beaumont Electric is buying and installing the fixtures.

Beaumont's decorative SSL luminaires

Beaumont is not retrofitting lights on existing poles. Its older lights were owned by the Southern California Edison (SCE) utility and primarily mounted on wooden poles. The new lights are owned by the city and are mounted on new black decorative polls.

Funding from the project has come from a SCE energy partners program and from local city coffers. The city web page cites a 30% energy savings attributable to the LED lights. Moreover it expects the lights to last 12.5 years compared to 5.5 years for the HPS lights.

Iowa EECBG street-light projects

In Urbandale and Ankeny, Iowa, the LED street-light project is in the early planning stages. The Des Moines Register reported that bid specifications are currently under development for the SSL retrofit project. The cities applied jointly for the EECBG funds and will share the award with each pursuing their own street-light projects.

Ankeny intends to retrofit a total of 174 street lights. The city will focus on lights that it owns – the utility Mid American Energy owns 90% of the lights in the area. The Ankeny project will include ornamental lights and other lights around city facilities in the center of town. Urbandale will also replace lights at City Hall, its fire station and a local park.

The Iowa cities hope to complete the retrofits by June. Urbandale is hoping to save $13,000 per year in energy costs while Ankeny hopes to save $10,000.

Other street-light news

LED street lights remain a hot topic globally due to the energy-saving attributes. According to the Newburyport News (Newburyport, Massachusetts), the mayor is considering a street-light retrofit. In a recent editorial, the newspaper encouraged a consideration of LED lights both for energy savings and a reduction of light trespass.

The city of Stratford in Ontario, Canada is also considering the advantages of LED street lights according to The Beacon Herald. A public works committee has requested a study to determine whether new LED street lights will deliver energy savings. Apparently the city engineer and the local utility Festival Hydro will complete a study to evaluate energy savings on paper rather than deploying an actual SSL trial at the present time.

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