Central New York, Community, Environment

Mayor Walsh calls for new LED street lights

Syracuse is changing its street lighting in 2019. Mayor Walsh says the change in bulbs can save money and make Syracuse a safer city. NCC News Reporter Anjani Iman is live in Syracuse.

Video Transcript:LED Streetlighting 16 Mar 18 By Anjani Iman SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Mayor Ben Walsh announced his new budget for 2019. Although the budget will reduce spending by $6.8 million over the last fiscal year, it proposes spending millions on the revamp of streetlights.

Syracuse will work with the New York Power Authority to buy 17-thousand of the previously rented streetlights from the National Grid. The streetlights will bereplaced with LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights from their traditional HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulbs.

Mayor Ben Walsh said the LEDs can do a lot for the community, including bringing light to neighborhoods with high crime rates. In fact, according to a study by the Institute of Criminology, areas with improved street lighting have had crime rates decrease by 21.5 percent. In one case, violent crimes at nighttime decreased by almost percent.

John Sauve, a Syracuse native, says his neighborhood would benefit from the addition of lights.

(c) 2018 Anjani Iman

“Growing up, between the neighborhood I’m in and the baseball field, I’d have to walk through worse neighborhoods that were definitely a bit sketchy. During the day it’s not so bad.” Sauve said, “However, when it gets to dinnertime or darker, my mom would always make me get home earlier, that way I wouldn’t have to walk through bad neighborhoods when it’s dark out.”

LED lights can reduce crime rates as well as money spent on electric bills for the city of Syracuse. Roger Garcia, the President of the Illuminating Engineer Society and a electric designer for Quality Lighting Company, agrees.

“There’s a tremendous amount of savings to be had by any municipality that puts them in.” Garcia said, “It might not mean a lot to regular folks but LEDs come out every day with projected lifespans of over 200 thousand hours, which is unheard of. A regular bulb would only reach about 20 thousand hours.”

NCC News did the math. 200 thousand hours, for lights that are powered from dusk until dawn, for 365 days a year–that’s an LED lifespan of 50 years. Compare that to roughly 5 years for an HID bulb, and the savings make the most sense. Cost savings can reach from 50 to 80 percent over time.

(c) 2018 Anjani Iman

Upfront, LEDs always cost more, but they require much fewer maintenance visits–once every ten to 15 years. HIDs require work twice a year.

LED light efficiency is also twice as high as HID. This means that for the same amount of wattage between the two bulbs, LEDs use up half the amount of electricity.

John Davis, manufacturer representative at Osterman Fox & Associates and former small business representative for the National Grid, said he, “has no doubt in [his] mind that the millions spent toward LEDs will pay off. It just all depends on how the municipality finances it, whether that’s contracts over five years or 15 years.”

Solvay Electric Supply is a local light fixture store that strictly sells LED fixtures. The only incandescent, HID or traditional bulbs they sell are ones that have not been sold and are left on the shelves. They do not order new shipment of traditional bulbs.

Solvay Electric Supply understands that LED’s are the way the industry trends are going. Davis said new LED bulbs come out every single day with more advancements. Regulations require a certain amount of LEDs in a person’s home, and especially in big businesses.

The National Grid helps businesses switch over to LED lighting, even though it seems that they are losing money. Because National Grid facilitates power and business, they are actually making money from LEDs as well.

As businesses big and small phase out traditional lighting and bring in LEDs, municipalities typically take more time to keep up with environmental trends. However, the city of Syracuse is at the forefront of this industry change.

“Going forward, it’s the way to go. It’s the future, and it’s going to benefit society as a whole,” Garcia said.

NCC News will update the progress of the reconstruction of lighting as the project begins in 2019.