The city of Topeka, Kansas, recently completed its first large-scale retrofit of streetlights using LED technology. The project was funded by a $332,000 grant from the US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program and was started and completed within two months during 2010. The LED streetlight project involved replacement of 409 existing 60, 80 and 100 watt metal halide streetlights on the Washburn Lane corridor with a decorative LED luminaire retrofit kit manufactured by Spring City Electrical of Spring City, Pennsylvania.
“We consider this project to be Topeka’s first pilot project to test LED streetlight technology, and we are already seeing approximately 40% savings in energy costs,” said Carlos Salazar, evaluation and planning manager of Topeka’s street maintenance section. In preparation for the competitively bid project, manufacturers were asked to supply LED fixtures for testing and evaluation. City officials were particularly interested in the performance of LED technology in Topeka’s extreme weather conditions. “The LED fixture testing procedure was a critical element in the selection process because we could test and evaluate each fixture and see which fixtures provided the best light output,” said Salazar. The LED streetlight installation, which involves 409 LED luminaires, globes and drivers, is located on a nearly two mile length of roadway and includes portions of Washburn University where the new decorative LED streetlights fit the aesthetics of the existing neighborhood.
The city of Topeka currently owns and operates approximately 1,100 streetlights with the remaining 8,700 leased from energy provider Westar Energy. With an annual streetlighting budget of $1.2 million, city officials are hopeful that the significant energy savings and anticipated longer life of LED luminaires will result in substantial savings. Ongoing discussions related to energy efficient outdoor lighting in Topeka include the potential replacement of all remaining city-owned streetlights with LED technology. This initiative would include both cobrahead streetlights at intersections with traffic signals as well as decorative streetlights located in the city’s downtown area, according to Salazar.