The city of Ouray, Colorado, has already seen financial benefits of converting city streetlights to LED technology. Ouray’s effort to adopt new technology was driven by the simple need to replace aging streetlights as well as the desire to replace outdated mercury vapor lighting technology. The city, in partnership with local utilities San Miguel Power and Tri-State Power, financed the conversion of 100 streetlights in commercial and residential areas. City officials chose LED streetlight fixtures manufactured by BetaLED, a division of Ruud Lighting, of Racine, Wisconsin.
“We were assessing aging streetlights and realized that we had a lot of light trespass coming from the mercury vapor fixtures and a significant amount of illumination where it wasn’t needed. This led us to evaluate LED technology,” said Bob Risch, mayor of the city of Ouray. A component of the analysis involved determination of lighting needs and levels for both commercial and residential streets of the city. Results of the study indicated that Ouray’s residential side streets could be sufficiently illuminated by 40 LED fixtures while the commercial district, Main Street, required 60 LED fixtures. “The LED lighting is superior to the mercury vapor fixtures, namely in uniformity,” said Risch.
To date, energy cost savings have been significant for the city. According to Risch, the city is saving approximately $10,000 annually. Ouray’s Main Street LED streetlight fixtures are city-owned and metered, and based on actual usage, energy costs have gone down by 70%. The residential streetlight fixtures are utility-owned, and as a result of a revised rate tariff, energy costs have been reduced by 38%. The city also anticipates savings as a result of reduced maintenance and longer lamp life of the LED fixtures. According to city officials, the Ouray community has responded very positively to the new LED streetlight fixtures.