LED Bulbs, More Uniform Timers Going into All Decorative Lampposts Downtown

Town officials have approved a contract with a Brookfield-based company for work that’s expected to make the decorative lampposts that illuminate downtown New Canaan more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

The lamppost out front of New Canaan Olive Oil on Elm Street. HB photo

The Board of Selectmen at a recent meeting approved a $4,038.75 contract with Efficient Lighting & Maintenance Inc. that will see new light-emitting diode or ‘LED’ lights and “astronomical timers” installed on the lampposts.

The new timers will be programmed to turn the lights on and off at pre-programmed times, rather than having them go and off now based on sensors that often “go bad over time,” according to Bill Oestmann, buildings superintendent with the New Canaan Department of Public Works.

“We are constantly chasing [the photosensors]” Oestmann told the Board of Selectmen at its March 21 meeting, held at Town Hall. “It gets costly.”

The existing photosensors could be tripped by passing headlights that make them “believe” it’s daytime, meaning the lampposts would switch off at night for a period of time, officials said.

With the new timers, everything is controlled by latitude and longitude and the day of the year, so that the lampposts will illuminate in one shot at sundown, and switch off again at dawn, officials said.

That functionality, together with the use downtown-wide of the energy-saving LED light bulbs, will save the town money—about $20,000 in energy costs over five years, according to Oestmann.

With a $1,615.50 financial incentive from Eversource, the net cost of the project for the town is $2,423.25, officials said.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectmen Beth Jones and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract.

Jones asked whether all the non-LED lights would be switched over to the longer-lasting bulbs at the same time that the new timers are installed (yes), whether the town or contracted company will perform that work (them) and whether the existing LED bulbs in town would be changed to a uniform type as part of the change (yes).

According to Oestmann, the town ran a “pilot program” during which some of the lampposts downtown were using LED bulbs of various colors, to find out whether anyone objected to their use—nobody did.

Mallozzi noted that the photosensors now in place had not been working consistently throughout downtown.

Oestmann said the upgrade in technology will make the town look more “crisp and clean, especially for the holiday season.”

“Plus it’s a savings,” he said.

7 thoughts on “LED Bulbs, More Uniform Timers Going into All Decorative Lampposts Downtown

  1. Bill Oestmann, said he tried different LED’s to see if there were objections. And that no one objected. i hope that none of the bulbs were the bright blue light. LED comes in warmer amber tones which is better at rendering the warmth and charm of the village. The bright blue can give off the feeling of the Post Road

  2. LED lights are the the way to go. It’s a no brainer.
    They will cost more but will last longer, saving money
    if it’s done right.
    The New Canaan Society for the Arts would like to
    do the same but is short of finances. It would help
    to have donations to achieve this purpose.
    N. Jensen

  3. Good to see the town investing small dollars in an investment that will pay-back in a very short period. If the initial cost is only 4k, and the electrical payback is 20K over 5 years, or 4K/year, that’s a very strong return…

    I understand from a few articles, the bigger payback on Town/City LED programs is the saving in labor for lightbulb changes, particularly on high posts. Many municipalities are keeping old road posts but changing the light heads to save on Electric, but just as important, the costly labor required to change the shorter lifespan bulbs.

    I would applaud the expansion of the program to street and other municipal lighting. At the same time it may be helpful to adopt what is called a “Dark-Sky” approach for these enhancements (if fiscally appropriate).

  4. Here is a quote from the NYC DOT on their project, Note the savings are actually larger for Labor as compared with Energy savings.

    Street Lights
    DOT maintains over 250,000 street lights throughout New York City, and is a national leader in using sustainable street lighting.

    In the largest such project in the country, DOT is currently retrofitting all of New York City’s street lights with energy-efficient LEDs. The new lighting will save approximately $6 million in energy and $8 million in maintenance a year.

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