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Streetlight retrofit

Streetlight retrofit

On what was a beautifully sunny Earth Day, a crowd gathered at Lynn Heritage State Park to watch local electrical contractor, Coviello Electric, install a shoebox LED lighting fixture, the last of 30 at the site to make the transition to LEDs. The conversion took just five minutes and, once complete, the crowd cheered as the new LED light was switched on for the first time – a symbolic act no doubt but an important one, nonetheless. That crowd included Governor Charlie Baker, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and other – dare we say – luminaries, there to recognize the significant investment being made to improve the Commonwealth’s energy efficiency.

There was no better day to celebrate the Commonwealth’s commitment to clean energy than on the day people all over the world demonstrate their support for environmental protection. Through two project phases, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will retrofit approximately 4,500 outdoor lighting fixtures, replacing high-intensity discharge (HID) lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The retrofit of these streetlights to LED will not only improve energy efficiency, it will also improve public safety along DCR’s many parkways across the Commonwealth,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Jack Murray. The switch from the “warm light” provided by HID lamps to the “white light” of LEDs significantly improves visibility and is known to increase perceived safety for local residents. This greater sense of security is not just perceived, however, as LEDs have actually been reported to reduce crime rates in cities across the country that have made the switch.

Governor Baker and other state officials at the Earth Day event

Governor Baker and other state officials at the Earth Day event

While more efficient than their incandescent and fluorescent predecessors, HID lights are known to deteriorate by up to 70% after only 10,000 burn hours, or about 3 years. LEDs, on the other hand, use less than half the energy consumption of HID lamps and last significantly longer, resulting in maintenance savings as well. This means the completed project will reduce the Commonwealth’s energy consumption by more than 3 million kWh every year and save taxpayers more than $500,000 annually in energy costs.

During the event, the governor expressed his support for LED technology and reiterated his commitment to the installation of LED lights across the Commonwealth wherever possible. “In celebration of Earth Day, I am pleased to announce this collaborative statewide LED program as an illustration of Massachusetts’ unrelenting commitment to energy efficiency and conserving the Commonwealth’s financial and energy resources,” said Governor Baker.

Lynn Heritage State Park is one of many sites involved in Phase 1 of the LED retrofit, a $2.2 million project that will convert close to 2,000 DCR-owned exterior lights. To pay for this phase of the project, DCR will leverage some $280,000 in incentives from Eversource, National Grid and Chicopee Electric Light as well as $1.2 million in Non-Building Energy Efficiency Investment Program (NEEIP) funds from the Leading by Example program (LBE) at the Department of Energy Resources. NEEIP provides green bond financing for self-supporting energy projects that will cover the cost of financing through energy cost savings.

Phase 1 is expected to be completed just in time for the peak summer season. So, when you’re out and about this summer enjoying any number of our beautiful state parks, be sure to check out these sleeker, more efficient LED fixtures and know the Commonwealth’s clean energy future is brighter than ever.

Written By:

LBE Non-Building Energy Efficiency Coordinator

Jillian DiMedio is the non-building energy efficiency coordinator on the Leading by Example team at DOER. This $15 million low-interest loan program is aimed at increasing efficiency within state operations. She holds an M.A. in Environmental Policy and an M.B.A. from Clark University and is passionate about efficiency and innovative financing for clean energy. Outside the office, Jillian enjoys travel and simple living, recently combining both passions while exploring Latin America in an Astro van.

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