New Lenox is considering a switch to LED streetlights, a move that could save the village energy and money.
Trustee Ray Tuminello brought up the option at the most recent Village Board meeting, and everyone appeared to be on board.
With this change, the village could see a savings of $129,000 every year in electric costs alone. More savings would be realized because less maintenance would be needed.
Currently, the village is responsible for 1,221 light heads. The average wattage estimated for those heads is 235 and the annual cost for each is about $138.
A change to LED lights would bring the average wattage per head to 85 watts and a cost of $32. The LED heads last 3.5 times longer than the village's current bulbs, Tuminello said, significantly reducing maintenance.
The village would change over 200 heads a month for six months, costing a total of $672,000. But $237,000 would come from a state program, leavin the village to pay about $435,000.
If the village financed this project over 48 months, Tuminello said New Lenox would pay about $10,000 monthly over that span. But the new lights would provide monthly savings of $10,750.
"As soon as these things are on, you're instantly saving money," Tuminello said. "It's not about the first 48 months. it's about when all these are paid off, the savings might be $150,000 a year."
Tuminello said that with these lights, there are other benefits the village could take advantage of. For an extra fee, for example, the village could upgrade to use "smart poles," which would allow officials to lower the wattage even further in some areas. He added that the lights could look just as they do now, instead of the "bright blue lights you think of with LED."
"For example, at the Metra lot we could say we want to lower the wattage and save even more money," he said. "It would be to the point where the lights would still appear at full strength, but we'd be saving more. We could even do this on certain roads or areas that don't need wasted electricity."
Tuminello said the village will now work with ComEd to catalog every light head's energy usage and specific wattage. After that, the village could test the lights in a certain area for no cost before moving forward with the project throughout the village.
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