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Feb 5, 2018 11:23 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Begins Converting Streetlights To LED, Should Finish By August

Kristen Doulos compares the current streetlights to the new LED streelights. VALERIE GORDON
Feb 6, 2018 1:37 PM

Southampton Town officials are replacing the municipality’s estimated 2,700 streetlights with light-emitting diode bulbs—commonly referred to as LEDs—this spring.

Partnering with the New York Power Authority, the town will invest approximately $1.9 million into its streetlight replacement project, which would cover the cost of the bulbs and their actual installation, according to Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad.

The townwide conversion from 75-watt high-pressure sodium bulbs to a range of 36-watt to 70-watt LEDs, depending on the area they are installed, is expected to significantly cut the town’s electricity costs and reduce its carbon footprint, according to Town Parks Director Kristen Doulos.

NYPA engineer Paul Parthemore explained last week that his department will front the $1.9 million, with the town paying back that amount over the next eight years or so. The authority will determine the appropriate wattage needed for specific town roads and also oversee the installation once the Town Board awards the project to the lowest responsible bidder.

Ms. Lofstad said the board intends to award the bid in the coming weeks. Board members approved the project in September by a 4-0 margin, with Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera abstaining.

Ms. Lofstad noted that, because of the anticipated cost savings from using the LEDs, the town expects to have saved enough money over the next seven years to reimburse NYPA for the $1.9 million investment. “I know that it is expected to pay itself back,” she said.

LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting due to the former’s small size, focused light direction and the fact that they release little heat, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The installation work is slated to begin east of the Shinnecock Canal before slowly moving west and will include all unincorporated hamlets, including Hampton Bays, according to Ms. Doulos. She noted that the work does not include incorporated villages, such as Southampton or Westhampton Beach.

Ms. Lofstad added that the townwide LED conversion is expected to be complete by August.

The new LEDs will be in compliance with the town’s “Dark Skies” legislation, enacted in 2009, which prohibits “nuisance lighting” and also requires that all fixtures to have shielded bulbs to prevent glare. The law also states that residential lighting fixtures cannot be higher than 12 feet off the ground to prevent light pollution; commercial properties cannot install lighting that exceeds 14 feet in height.

“I can’t imagine they can allow these streetlights to be bright and interfere with that law,” said Maria Hults, a longtime Hampton Bays resident who serves as vice president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association.

There are streetlights sprinkled throughout the municipality that now feature LEDs and, as a result, are already in compliance with the town’s regulations, officials said. Those areas include Main Street in Southampton, Good Ground Park, Gravel Hill Road and Fanning Avenue in Hampton Bays, and Main Street in Bridgehampton.

“Every time a light goes out, we’ve been replacing them with LED,” Ms. Doulos said.

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Good. The potholes and lack of sidewalks will be more visible.
By Mouthampton (370), Southampton on Feb 5, 18 12:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Don't we have two lighting people that work for the town? What will they be doing while this is going on? That works out to 270 per worker a year, one a day???
Sounds like a in house job, don't fix, replace with LED's. Do you have to replace the whole fixture or just the head? They are made to last...
By knitter (991), Southampton on Feb 6, 18 10:24 AM