County To Spend Stimulus Funds on LED Streetlights

by ARLnow.com September 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm 3,427 15 Comments

Arlington is devoting $500,000 in stimulus funds to convert old county-owned streetlights to energy-efficient LED streetlights, the county announced today.

Officials hope to replace 1,800 streetlights, or 40 percent of all county-owned lights, by the spring of 2011. The funds for the project will come from a federal energy efficiency and conservation grant.

After the initial push, the county will install 500 new streetlights per year. The conversion will take about six years to complete, and will produce a significant cost savings for the county.

The new lights are expected to cut energy consumption by about 60 percent and save more than $1 million per year, according to one estimate.

Even after the conversion, however, most streetlights in the county will be of the older, less energy-efficient variety. That’s because the vast majority of streetlights in Arlington are owned by Dominion Power. Dominion operates 11,700 lights under contract with the county, and those have not yet been scheduled for an upgrade.

“Arlington and Dominion are exploring options to improve the energy efficiency of those [streetlights] in the future,” the county said in a statement.

  • Lou

    Any way to tell an Arlington light vs a Dominion light? The poles on my street are powered by underground lines and look kind of fancy. I assume these are county lights, whereas the ones out on Washington Blvd look pretty generic. Maybe there are id tags on them that differentiate who owns them?

    I’d like to see the light from these. I hope it’s not some super cool, high Kelvin sterile blue. On the other hand high pressure sodium lights are probably the worst thing every propagated in suburbia.

    • Wayne Kubicki

      Lou – you can see some of the LED ones just north of Courthouse Plaza, at the east end by the CVS.

    • Deb

      Most (possibly all) of the street lights in my ‘hood are Dominion-owned. I don’t think they say “Dominion” on them anywhere, but each one has an ID tag on the pole. The ID starts with a letter and is followed by, I don’t know, 6-9 numbers.

    • MB

      “I hope it’s not some super cool, high Kelvin sterile blue”

      Amen. I suspect most people would roll their eyes at a discussion about it (perhaps reasonably so), but the color of light makes such a difference in almost any application. A neighborhood awash in a bright blue-white is going to be harsh.

      • GK

        Yes, a nice comfy incandescent color would be great. Anything but the penitentiary orange mercury vapor.

        • Skeptical

          I would think I had tumbled backward in time forty years if I saw anything but arctic blue or stark sodium light on the street at night.

        • Lou

          Actually mercury vapor lamps put out a brilliant mostly blue/some green light. They are preferred by landscapers because they render green plants at night very well. You’re thinking of high pressure sodium, which is the orange parking lot bulb that keeps you searching for your car because any color other than white or gray looks virtually the same under HPS.

  • KateKirk

    this is hilarious. 18 months ago when our street went through a controversial “neighborhood conservation” effort, we were told that the ugly/inefficient cobra lights on utility poles would be removed because the project included new, prettier high-efficiency streetlights (think they’re called Carlyle, can’t remember). What really happened is that the cobra lights stayed and the new pretty ones are plain old incandescents with an awful yellow light. So we have twice as many streetlights wasting energy and creating light pollution and none of them are LEDs…and my guess is that because they’re relatively newer, these LEDs will never see the light of (night) day in our corner of Arlington.

    • charlie

      katekirk: you were hoodwinked by your civic association. the carylel lights are ugly, annoying and everyone who gets them wishes they didn’t exist. Somehow these became coveted “success” stories for civic association presidenets. they are horrible. sorry for your loss.

    • Stacey

      Are you on N 5th? Same happened to us.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Where are these “bulbs” manufactured? I think there was some issue in Cleveland when it was found that the bulbs were purchased from China when they could have purchased some made by GE in a nearby factory. Money would have gone to support jobs in the USofA.

  • Mark

    Why in the world should the tax payer have to provide $$ to Arlington County? If the County will save $1 million per year by lowering its electricity bill, shouldn’t this one time investment of 500k be paid by the county itself? It boggles my mind how our hard earned money has no value in the eyes of some!

    • Max D.

      That’s how these things work. Are you familiar with a loan?

  • Just to be clear: the money the County is spending on this project is from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block GBrant (EECBG) Program. It is intended to assist localities to develop, promote, implement and manage energy efficiency and conservation projects and programs that will: reduce fossil fuel emissions; reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities; improve energy efficiency in the transportation, buiding and other appropriate sectors; and create and retain jobs.

  • There was a brief article printed in the May/June issue of The Citizen. See link below and go to pg. 4, “Lighting the Way” for more bkgd.



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