After recent passage of a county council bill, the island of Hawai’i plans to initiate a large scale LED streetlight installation in selected areas. The installation involves replacement of approximately 800 existing streetlight fixtures in the vicinity of signal intersections and marked crosswalks in Hilo, Waimea, and Kailua Kona. The project is funded by a $500,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant. County officials also hope to gain access to additional funding in the form of rebates from the state, if funds are available.
The LED streetlight installation will mark the second change of streetlighting technology within the past several decades. The last large scale replacement involved conversion of all of the island’s streetlights from mercury vapor to low pressure sodium (LPS) in order to save energy and comply with a dark sky ordinance. “We are now looking to LED technology to save even more energy and provide better illumination than the existing LPS fixtures,” said Ronald Thiel, traffic division chief of the department of public works for the County of Hawai’i. The county owns and maintains the majority of the island’s streetlights and officials hope that the expected 50% reduction in energy consumption will significantly reduce energy costs. The county currently budgets about $1.2 million annually for electricity costs alone. Reduced maintenance associated with the longer life of the LED fixtures is also expected to be a benefit.
“We have one year from the code amendment passed by the council to complete the project, so we are anxious to get started as quickly as possible,” said Thiel. A request for bids will likely be issued within two months. “We are going to ask manufacturers to provide samples of the fixtures which they are submitting as part of their bid so that we can test them in field conditions. We are also looking for a very specific performance guarantee which will be outlined in the bid document,” said Thiel.