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Grand Junction and Grand Valley Power test energy efficient streetlights

A two-year pilot project is under way in Grand Junction to evaluate the use of more energy efficient streetlights.

The City of Grand Junction and Grand Valley Power are participating in the project, funded by a federal grant. Grand Valley Power has installed 30 streetlights to test two types of lighting as well as various wattages and fixtures.

A number of factors will be considered over the next two years in evaluating the lighting, including the initial cost of the lights and fixtures, electricity use, maintenance, longevity and the quality of lighting. The public — particularly residents living near the areas where the new lights have been installed — is encouraged to provide feedback as well.

Depending on the results of the project, the use of energy efficient street lights could be expanded, said Derek Elder, energy services administrator at Grand Valley Power.

Grand Valley Power and Xcel Energy sell electricity to the city to power streetlights. Grand Valley Power also installs and maintains streetlights in its service territory.

The potential savings associated with more energy efficient lighting is significant given the City of Grand Junction spends about $1.2 million a year on electricity for streetlights, said Kristin Winn, a public information coordinator for the city.

Using $25,000 from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funded through federal stimulus legislation, Grand Valley Power installed 30 streetlights as part of the project.

A total of eight new streetlights were installed at roundabout intersections of G Road at 24 1/2 and 25 roads and six other locations along G Road between 26 1/2 and 27 roads, seven locations along H Road west of 27 Road and at nine more locations in residential neighborhoods between G and H roads.

The new streetlights will test different configurations with induction and light-emitting diode (LED) lighting at the equivalent of 100 watts and 250 watts installed in three different types of fixtures.

“We’re looking at a lot of things,” Winn said.

streetlight event

Two types of lights and three types of fixtures will be tested during a two-year pilot project in which the City of Grand Junction and Grand Valley Power will assess the use of 30 energy efficient streetlights installed in the city. (Photo courtesy Kristin Winn and the City of Grand Junction)

Induction and LED lights offer an energy savings of 20 percent to 75 percent over the high-pressure sodium vapor lamps typically used in streetlights, Elder said.

LED and induction lights also are rated to last four to five times longer than sodium lights, he said: 80,000 hours for LEDs and 100,000 hours for induction lights compared to 20,000 to 25,000 hours for sodium lights.

The disadvantage of induction and LED lights is that they’re more expensive than sodium lights. But Winn and Elder both expect their cost to come down over time because of more widespread use.

Grand Valley Power soon will test the output of the streetlights and repeat the test again after a year and two years, Elder said.

But the City of Grand Junction and Grand Valley Power also want to hear from people who drive along the streets and live in the neighborhoods illuminated by the streetlights.

A survey posted on the city website at www.gjcity.org asks participants to rate the quality of the lights, whether they think it’s easier or harder to see when driving or walking, whether the neighborhoods feel more or less secure and whether they like or dislike the change.

A link on the Grand Valley Power website at www.gvp.org connects users to the survey on the city website.

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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