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Release Date: March 02, 2013

The Greenburgh Town Board is looking for ways to save taxpayers money long term. Sometimes, there are large upfront costs that have to be appropriated before one can achieve the long term benefits. This past week we discussed an initiative that could be included in the upcoming capital budget –retrofitting lights at our municipal buildings and street lights with LED lighting. LED lighting drastically reduces the kW load required to operate facility lighting systems. Communities around the United States have reported successes with LED lighting.


The proposed cost if we retrofit all the lights at once: $1,650,303.22.


The total monthly savings the town will receive: $42,476,55


The total Yearly savings: $509,719.94


The savings during the next five years: $4, 233, 138.74


The average payback on lighting: 34.5 months.


Is this too good to be true? Forbes had an interesting article about California's experiences with Led lights. Please read the following. Your comments will be appreciated. Inasmuch as the Town Board will be voting on the capital budget in the coming months - please e mail townboard@greenburghny.com. We are looking at some grant possibilities that could reduce our upfront costs.


2013 is shaping up to be an important year. We're taking action steps this year that will reduce costs of governing in the future. For example, the reassessment initiative will reduce certiorari''s, legal expenses and large tax refunds. The one arm bandit sanitation truck that we will include in the upcoming capital budget will enable the town to reduce the workforce of our sanitation department through attrition (as people retire some won't be replaced). The one arm bandit trucks use one employee, instead of three. We will be purchasing one initial truck as a pilot.


Justin Gerdes, Contributor


10 California Cities Saving Money With LED Street Lights

The Great Recession hammered California. The state received an economic drubbing (partly self inflicted; the housing bubble) from which it has not yet recovered. The unemployment rate, at 11.3%, is almost three points above the national average.


When tax receipts plummeted, Sacramento and local governments shed jobs to balance their books. California was one of only two states to see an increase in the unemployment rate since June 2009 and lose at least half of its jobs in the public sector.

Forced to balance their budgets, cities have several options, none appealing: raise taxes or fees, cut staff or services, or slash expenses. On this last measure, however, cities across California are realizing that one expense is entirely within their control – their electricity bill. Smart cities are saving energy and money by replacing inefficient high-pressure sodium (HPS) or high-intensity discharge street lights with light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

LED street lights consume up to 80% less electricity than traditional lights. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

The Sustainable City Network explains why:

Currently the most energy-efficient lights on the market – the light-emitting diode, or LED variety – are up to three times more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Still, if you can afford the up-front costs, experts say LED street lights can save money in the long run by consuming 50 to 80 percent less energy than conventional lighting products and virtually eliminate maintenance costs for up to 20 years. These benefits, advocates say, provide a 5-year payback in most cases.

Seattle, which plans to convert street lights citywide by 2014, has found that the switch to LEDs is already saving taxpayer money, and that falling prices are bringing projects in well under budget – nearly $5 million in the most recent round of installations.

“Our new LED street lights are already saving more than $300,000 each year and with the latest round of installations the annual savings is expected to grow to nearly $900,000,” Councilmember Bruce Harrell told the Sustainable City Network.

Back to California. And here I want to emphasize a point. Every city on the list below was able to undertake its LED retrofit project with funding provided wholly or in part from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – yes, the Tea Party- and GOP-maligned stimulus.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) received $314.5 million for energy-related projects and rebates from the stimulus bill (see this pamphlet [PDF] for details). One beneficiary, the Energy Efficient Conservation Block Grants Program (EECBG), has been a lifeline for cash-strapped California cities and counties.

The program has provided more than $35 million in direct payments to small California cities and counties to fund energy upgrades. The CEC estimates that every $1 of ARRA dollars invested in public sector building retrofits has returned $3 in additional economic output.

What did American taxpayers receive in return for that $35 million investment? An estimated 2,375 jobs created, 61.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity savings, and $9 million that local governments shaved from their annual utility bills. Stimulus squandered? Hardly.

Here are 10 California cities that have turned to LED street lights to save money, improve safety, and slash carbon emissions:


1) Brisbane: This waterfront city south of San Francisco just completed a second street light swap-out, replacing 45 HPS street lights at the city marina parking lot with LEDs lamps that use half the energy. The project was funded by a $25,000 ARRA grant. Last year, Brisbane used a low-interest loan to replace 372 HPS street lights with LEDs.

2) Carpinteria: This Santa Barbara County city replaced 199 HPS, 138-watt street lights with brighter 29-watt LED fixtures. The project, funded with a $74,177 ARRA grant, will save the city $11,600 on its energy bill, and cut 33 tons of CO2, annually. Carpinteria has replaced over 90% of its traditional street lights with LEDs.

3) Needles: This San Bernardino County city replaced 30 HPS lamps with LEDs. The retrofit, funded by a $30,048 ARRA grant, will save Needles $1,892 annually in avoided energy costs and cut CO2 by nearly 11,000 pounds each year.

4) Foster City: Completed in 2011, the city’s lighting swap-out replaced 260 HPS street lights with LEDs that use half the energy. The retrofit, funded by a $157,426 ARRA grant, will save Foster City taxpayers $17,600 in avoided energy costs, and $1,900 in avoided maintenance, annually.

5) Lemoore: This Kings County city replaced 283 HPS street lights with brighter 39-watt LED fixtures. Funded last year by a $136,469 ARRA grant, the project will save the city $6,240 on its energy bill annually. Lemoore has replaced a quarter of its traditional street lights with LEDs.

6) Marysville: This city of 12,000 located north Sacramento retrofitted 176 HPS, 95-watt street lights – 15% of the total – with 39-watt LEDs. Funding came from a $69,000 ARRA grant. The project will save taxpayers $4,285 in energy costs annually.

7) Yountville: This Napa wine country town, home to the world-famous The French Laundry restaurant, replaced 110 HPS street lights with LED fixtures. The project, completed early in 2011, was funded by a $25,000 ARRA grant and $200,473 low-interest loan. The retrofit will save the city $21,060 annually, and slash CO2 by 44 tons each year.

8) Ceres: This Stanislaus County city will use a nearly $1.2 million low-interest loan to convert 2,200 HPS and mercury vapor street lights to LEDs. The project will save Ceres $108,500 on its energy bill annually and slash CO2 by 346 tons each year. Pay back on the loan is 11 years from the energy savings alone.

9) Burlingame: This city on the San Francisco Bay waterfront is completing a two-part lighting retrofit. Part one, funded by a $150,010 ARRA grant, replaced HPS street lights with LEDs and upgraded the lighting at the fire station, police department, corporate yard, city garage and library – good for $29,000 in annual energy savings. In part two, Burlingame will use a $458,633 loan to replace 767 HPS street lights with LEDs. With the energy savings alone, $57,500 annually, Burlingame can repay the loan in less than eight years.

10) Kerman: This city of 13,500 in Fresno County will use a $202,000 low-interest loan and a $72,075 ARRA grant to replace all 718 HPS and metal-halide street lights citywide. The retrofit will save Kerman $26,364 annually, which could pay off the loan in less than eight years.



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