Pontiac installs LED streetlights, expects big savings

It’s getting cheaper to keep the lights
on in Pontiac, at least since the city has finished installing its
first LED streetlights.

The LEDs are part of the $2 million
reconstruction that took place this summer. The project rebuilt 1 mile
of Baldwin Avenue between Cesar Chavez Avenue and Montcalm Street, just
northwest of downtown. That includes replacing the road, sidewalks and
36 light polls.

LED
lights are going in all of the new cobra-head street lamps. The LEDs
cost $21,000 and are partially funded by federal and state grants.

The
36 lights are expected to significantly cut expenses because LEDs are
more energy-efficient and longer-lasting. LEDs typically cut electric
bills in half because they use less energy. They mostly produce light
that is visible to the human eye. Normal incandescent lights produce a
significant amount of ambient light that isn’t. They also last much
longer.

“It really cuts down on the maintenance cost,” says
Allan E Schneck, director of the department of public works for the
city of Pontiac.

Oxford-based Relume Technologies and its distributor Lumeco provided the LEDs. The company also provided the LEDs for Ann Arbor’s downtown.

The
technology is already widely used in traffic lights, TVs and brake
lights for cars; as well as those expensive flashlights you find at REI.
Ann Arbor is in the process of installing them in all its downtown
streetlights. Those lights are expected to pay for themselves through
energy savings within 4.2 years.

Ann Arbor is also looking to
eventually install LEDs in all of its streetlights within the next few
years. Other cities like Ferndale, Wyandotte and Ypsilanti are
seriously considering similar options.

Source: Allan E Schneck, director of the department of public works for the city of Pontiac
Writer: Jon Zemke