• Streetlight retrofit underway

    Don Short shows the new service territory map.

    In the continued effort to save energy and provide further service to members, LPEA is retrofitting more than 2,000 streetlights owned by the co-op in the City of Durango.

    “We are changing out the old high-pressure sodium and metal halide streetlights to energy efficient LEDs,” says Ray Pierotti, LPEA project specialist who oversees lighting technology. “Beyond the energy savings, the streets and sidewalks will have far superior lighting, adding to safety in the city. And because the streetlights will last 15 years with little or no maintenance, this project reduces LPEA’s operations costs, thus saving members’ money.”

    In its first phase, LPEA has retrofitted 100 lamps on N. Main and the adjacent east avenues of 2nd, 3rd and 4th, as well as the Bennet St. area north of North City Market. Working with manufacturer Cooper/Eaton, which has done extensive research and completed photometrics along different types of roadways and intersections, the co-op tested a variety of lamps to find the optimum solution. The lighting selected surpasses the standards and guidelines required for pedestrian safety set by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.

    On the energy savings front, LPEA (and thus members) will realize a 70 to 80 percent wattage reduction for the streetlights. For example, the project replaces 465 watt high pressure sodium lamps with 151 watt LEDs. The actual wattage reduction will vary from location to location as more lighting is required in high traffic areas, with lower levels in the neighborhoods.

    “The new lamps are also all ‘Dark Sky compliant,’ which is important to the City,” says Pierotti. “The lamps we have installed have zero ‘up-light.’ They have very tight specifications for backlight and glare as well, plus we can install backside and side shields upon member request if members experience any glare through their home windows.”

    The lamps along Main can be seen to focus on the street and sidewalks, with no glare into adjacent buildings.

    The lamps’ color or “hue,” which is measured in kelvin (k), is 3,000k. This is the recommendation of the Dark Sky Consortium and the American Medical Association, which has studied the harmful effects of exposure to certain high levels of kelvin.

    To further accommodate the neighborhoods, at 10 p.m., when traffic is reduced, a photo sensor will dim lights to 50 percent – still providing the proper amount of light, but moderating light pollution during traditional hours of sleep. The lamps will return to 100 percent at 5 a.m.

    Once Durango’s project is complete, plans are for similar retrofits of LPEA-owned streetlights in the municipal centers throughout LPEA’s service territory in La Plata and Archuleta counties. Simultaneously, the City of Durango (which owns the streetlights in Downtown Durango) will soon be retrofitting its historic lighting to improve safety Downtown.

    “This project aligns with our mission statement to provide reliable power, as the streetlights need to always be ‘on,’ and the old technology was not always reliable. Plus we’re providing electricity at a reasonable cost while being environmentally responsible,” says Pierotti.

    To learn more about LED lighting, contact Pierotti at rpierotti@lpea.coop.