City continues conversion to LED lighting

by Laura Bednar

Independence Technical Services Director Dave Snyderburn said the city has been trying to adopt LED technology for a long time. Consequently, Independence is transitioning to LED by replacing streetlight fixtures.

An LED lighting installation inside the Civic Center is 90% complete, according to Snyderburn, and now the city is taking to the streets.

“It is energy efficient and we are cognizant of the cost,” he said. “It is the best available lighting for the taxpayers.”

There are 1,300 light poles in the city and FirstEnergy owns 1,100, according to Snyderburn. Independence is responsible for the remaining 200, the bulk of which the city leases from First Energy.

“The LED replacement fixtures are installed after a light is reported to be non-functioning,” said Snyderburn.

According to an agreement between FirstEnergy and the city, if anything is wrong with a light pole, the company will replace the whole fixture, not just the bulb, at no cost to the city.

Once a light is replaced, it is entered into FirstEnergy’s system as an LED, and the city receives immediate cost savings because of the lower wattage.

“The fixture life expectancy is 20 years,” said Snyderburn, adding that maintenance costs will be reduced.

Once all light poles are LED equipped, the cost savings will be $4,900 per month, according to Procurement Coordinator Dennis Zdolshek. Snyderburn said it will take between four and five years to convert the entire city.

Of the 200 light poles the city owns, one-third are already LED. Many are on Brecksville, Rockside and Pleasant Valley roads. Drivers in those areas notice “brighter white but evenly broadcast lighting,” according to Snyderburn.

At an Independence utilities committee meeting, FirstEnergy representative Kevin Smalley said with the “replacement on failure” process, the new LED lights will stick out among existing lights because of their brightness.

“I have had tons of complaints come my way, and what I have done is worked with service directors, and we can install shields at a nominal cost if it comes down to it,” he said. “After a month or two, once [residents] get used to it, typically I would say 99% of the complaints I have had have gone away.” ∞