13 September 2017
Whanganui District Council has already saved more than $100,000 in electricity costs during the roll-out of its LED streetlight replacement project, with final cost savings of $6M expected.
Around 2500 residential streetlights have been replaced with the LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights since the project began in the 2015/16 financial year. By the project’s end, 5,500 lights will have been upgraded with the help of 85 percent funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Street lighting energy costs have reduced from $457,842 in 2015/16 to $350,649 in 2016/17, Council Senior Roading Engineer Rui Leitao says.
“This is a significant saving for the Council and one of the benefits of LEDs, as the lights have a much lower wattage than the previous lights, making them cheaper to run,” he says.
As well as being more energy efficient then the older technology High Pressure Sodium (HPS/SON) streetlights, they have a much longer replacement timeframe and provide improved lighting for motorists and pedestrians.
“As the technology is fairly new, we have made sure we’ve purchased LED products that are of high-quality and performance. LED lamps need to be replaced every 20 years, compared to about eight years for HPS and other lights.”
LED streetlights are easy to spot once you know what to look for, Mr Leitao says, as they emit a white light, rather than the yellow light of the older fixtures. The white light only projects downwards, creating a different visual effect from the former lights.
“The lights show true colours and the light spreads differently. Pedestrians are also easier to see.”
The Council will invest around $3M during the roll-out with expected savings in electricity and maintenance costs of $9M, resulting in direct savings of $6M over the LED lights’ lifetime.
The project was initially expected to take five years, but with the NZTA upping its funding from 62 percent to 85 percent, it will now be completed by 30 June 2018.
“It’s a win-win situation,” says Mr Leitao.
The project began firstly as a trial on the Whanganui City Bridge, extended to main arterial routes and is now spreading throughout the suburbs. The roll-out of these improvements is part of a Council maintenance and improvements contract with Strong Electrical Ltd.
What you need to know:
Most of the LED replacement in Castlecliff and Springvale is complete. The Strong Electrical LED team is currently working in Aramoho.
LED lights are being installed along the Whanganui City Bridge to North Mole Shared Pathway, beginning with some 5.5m poles between Bedford Avenue and Balgownie Avenue. New lighting poles have also been installed on St Hill Street near Whanganui Intermediate, as part of the Te Tuaiwi cycleway through the central city.
Each streetlight pole has its own unique number, regardless of the streetlight being on a Powerco electricity pole or a stand-alone streetlight. If you wish to report a faulty streetlight, ring the Council on 349 0001. It is helpful to have the number of the pole on hand, so the maintenance team can easily pinpoint its exact location.