Upper Gwynedd could sign LED street lighting program

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UPPER GWYNEDD – Several neighbors have already done so, and Upper Gwynedd’s turn could come in 2022.

Township officials heard an update Monday night on the next round of a regional program to convert existing street lights to energy-efficient LEDs.

“No down payment is required, if you choose to do so. Savings pay for loan repayments, ”said Michael Fuller, president of Keystone Lighting Solutions.

In 2016-2017, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and Montgomery County teamed up for a first round of LED streetlight conversions, which aimed to reduce energy use and associated costs while modernizing city infrastructure. participants. This first round improved over 26,000 street lights in 35 municipalities in four counties, and a second round in 2019 added 26 additional municipalities; Lansdale and Towamencin, which both border Upper Gwynedd, participated in the first round while North Wales Borough, which is entirely surrounded by Upper Gwynedd, participated in the second.

Fuller told township commissioners Monday night that the DVRPC is currently planning a third and final round of the regional street light supply program and has identified several options the township could consider. Upper Gwynedd currently has 120 existing ‘cobra head’ street lights that could be upgraded with LED incandescent, plus 23 additional decorative lights on West Point Pike and 34 more at the Parkside Place complex on Sumneytown Pike all of which could qualify for bets. at the level.

“You don’t own your fixtures, you’ll have to buy them back from PECO – which is very common – they’ve been waiting to become owners for a long time and they’ve been very good at selling them back,” Fuller said.

The DVRPC is still evaluating various funding models based on the number of participating municipalities, Fuller told commissioners, but borrowing through the county or a municipal-only loan could be used to fund investment costs, with repayment periods based. on savings from reduced maintenance. and lower energy consumption. Early projections indicate that upgrading just regular street lights could save around $ 19,000 per year, with a payback of around two years, while adding advanced control systems extends that payback to around three years. , and the inclusion of cityscape luminaires would extend the payback period. , about 13 years old. Early estimates are that, over 20 years, the total savings by converting only the cobra heads would be around $ 345,000, while the addition of streetscape lighting would produce around $ 360,000 to $ 370,000. savings over the same period, with possible variations depending on financing interest rates once the project is advanced.

“The next steps that you all need to take into account are: phase two is a quality audit, we do the design, the supply of the product – it’s already done – we reserve your discounts for you, we we take care of all of that, ”Fuller said.

The second phase would also include the construction of an interactive map of all luminaires in the township, with indicators of the types of installations where, and a third phase of construction could begin as early as 2022, leading to a fourth phase of confirmation. savings and ongoing maintenance. Township Manager Sandra Brookley Zadell added that the lighting map developed by DVRPC in the process “would fit perfectly into our current asset management system, so we will be able to see when a light is off, instead of to currently have to wait for someone to call and complain.

Commissioner Katherine Carter asked for details on the different payback periods between cobra heads and cityscape lights, and Fuller said the difference was due to the costs of different retrofit kits.

“If you look at a payback period of about 12 years, that means for 12 years all your savings will go towards paying for the purchase of this equipment and the installation. For years 13 to 20, you would only get the associated savings, ”he said.

Carter then asked how many municipalities had also improved their control systems when they installed their street lights. Commissioner Martha Simelaro asked how the rating would compare the lifespan of LEDs versus incandescent bulbs, and Fuller said the standard bulb typically lasts 20,000 to 24,000 hours, which can last anywhere from five to six years, while LEDs last much longer. well over 200,000 hours.

Deputy principal Megan Weaver added that staff were asking the board to decide whether to continue funding the project in the township’s 2022 budget, and Zadell thanked Weaver and Fuller for preparing the preliminary study for review by the board.

“We really didn’t want to miss out on participating,” Zadell said.

The Upper Gwynedd commissioners will then meet at 7 p.m. on November 16 at the Township Administration Building, 1 Parkside Place. For more information, visit www.UpperGwynedd.org.


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