New LEDs help to light the way in Puyallup

Overhead bulbs save the city 62 percent in electricity costs annually

Staff writerApril 9, 2014 

Lights along city streets and in residential neighborhoods help to illuminate night life, but depending on the type of fixture that’s used, the necessity can come at a steep cost.

Puyallup’s streets division began last year to implement a way to control costs associated with installation and maintenance: It’s now using LEDs.

“The prices are coming down because the technology is being adopted industry-wide,” said Ken Davies, the street supervisor for Puyallup’s public works department. “Everyone is going to these LED fixtures. Seattle City Light was an agency we were looking at as a model. It’s become accepted in the industry, for sure.”

Davies and his crew switched out 18 of the traditional 100-watt, high-pressured sodium light fixtures last month for 18 53-watt LEDs in the LaGrande subdivision.

The overhead street lights are rated to last 24 years, Davies said.

“In LaGrande, maintenance savings for the lifetime of the project is around $326 per year,” he said.

Energy savings for a 53-watt LED bulb is 62 percent — about $560 annually.

“We will also follow up on what our real-world savings is a year from now,” Davies said.

He said the LaGrande subdivision was chosen because it is a metered area with Puget Sound Energy. The city is charged monthly, he said.

The city owns 705 lights, whereas 1,241 lights are owned by Puget Sound Energy, Davies said.

“We’ve talked to the public works director to seek additional funds to complete all 705,” he said.

So far, 52 city lights have been replaced with LEDs. Davies said the city’s first installation was last March along East Pioneer from the Third Street bypass to the state Route 512 on-ramp.

“These were decorative lights that illuminate the sidewalk only,” Davies said.

He said his crew hopes to continue the East Pioneer project this year. They would like to add overhead LED street lights to the stretch of road.

The streets division plans to convert lights along the Meridian Street corridor to LED ornamentals. It also hopes to identify a second neighborhood for a project.

“We’re in the process of updating city standards to reflect the LED technology,” Davies said.

The cost for the LaGrande installation was $6,000. Davies said the city has budgeted $11,000 this year for LED conversions. The work is financed by the city’s street maintenance fund, he said.

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