Starting late this fall, contractors for the City of Vancouver will begin upgrading 13,500 of the city’s 18,000 street lights to energy-efficient LED technology.
The switch from high-pressure sodium fixtures in ‘cobra-head’ style street lights to LED (light emitting diode) is anticipated to be completed by August 2020. Eventually all of Vancouver’s street lights, including the ‘acorn’ style along downtown streets, are expected to make the transition as decorative style LEDs become more cost-effective.
On Monday, City Council awarded a $1.11 million contract for replacing the light fixtures to On Magnum Power, LLC, of Kelso. Council has already approved purchase of the LED fixtures, a cost not to exceed $2 million.
The project benefits are many and proven: LED lights consume about 50 percent less energy than their high-pressure sodium predecessors. They have an estimated useful life of 20 years, so they last far longer and require less maintenance. And they have a reduced carbon footprint that’s environmentally friendly.
Light output from the new LED fixtures will be equivalent to the city’s existing street lights, but with improved light distribution and a soft white color that increases visibility while reducing impacts related to glare, sky glow and wildlife.
Funding for the LED project is supported by a low-interest loan from the Washington State Public Works Board. Energy savings from the new LED fixtures - an estimated $500,000 per year – will be used to pay off the loan and set aside reserve funds for future fixture replacement expenses. Clark Public Utilities' incentives for low-energy fixture usage - currently estimated at about $1.4 million - will also support the project.
Installation of the LED fixtures is expected to have minimal impacts, with the typical conversion of each streetlight taking about 15 minutes. Residents may experience short-term lane closures or other traffic control in place during work. Removed fixtures will be salvaged, where possible, or recycled.