The city of Newburyport, Massachusetts, recently began exploring the possibility of an energy efficient streetlight replacement project, with a particular focus on LED streetlight technology. City officials are in the beginning stages of evaluating the technology as well as current lighting standards and needs for the city’s roadways. Republic ITS, an electrical and transportation engineering firm, is providing LED streetlight technology and design consulting services to Newburyport.
The city of Newburyport currently has about 1,598 existing streetlights, the majority of which are owned by National Grid, the local energy supplier. The city owns and maintains only about 120 streetlights. “We are looking at purchasing our lights from the utility. We are evaluating the city’s lighting needs, including eliminating unnecessary streetlights or upgrading, if needed,” said Molly Ettenborough, recycling and energy coordinator for the city of Newburyport. Payback calculations will also help officials determine the most efficient and effective streetlight policies. Methods of financing for the purchase of existing streetlights from the utility, as well as purchase and installation of new LED fixtures, are also being analyzed. “In addition to financing, the city also has an energy fund that could be utilized,” said Ettenborough.
Nearly all of Newburyport’s streetlights are high pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures, including about 1,000 50 watt HPS lamps and about 275 100 watt HPS lamps. According to George Woodbury of Republic ITS, “It can be a challenge to make the financials work for fixtures below 150 watts.” Projected energy savings, estimated at around 50% for the lower wattage fixtures according to manufacturer data, might not result in significant savings. However, even modest energy savings coupled with the longer lamp life of LEDs, and reduced maintenance, should have positive economic benefit for the city of Newburyport.