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Southern Westchester Energy Action Consortium’s Energy Efficient Street Light Forum shared Yonkers, Eastchester and Dobbs Ferry’s success’s in LED Street Light Retrofitting and connect with thought leaders who can help keep your municipality bright and in the black.

SWEAC, in collaboration with Abundant Efficiency LLC, organized an Energy Efficient Streetlight Forum generously hosted by Pace Land Use Law Center on November 7th, 2013.   29 local governments were registered for this event which spotlighted the extraordinary opportunity that installing LED streetlights now represents. Most local governments can save money, reduce energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to Pace Land Use Law Center, SWEAC and Abundant Efficiency, sponsors included Computel Consultants, Lumen Light Solutions and the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC).

Moderated by Nina Orville, the event included the following presentations:

Getting Started: Streetlight Inventories and Operations.

In this segment, Mike Caton of Computel Consultants reviewed ownership, maintenance and billing of streetlights in both NYSEG and ConEd territories. Mr. Caton shared basic streetlight facts including that streetlights are typically unmetered and as such, are the account most often over-billed.  He covered the importance of ensuring that the streetlight inventory, which serves as the basis for streetlight billing is audited and corrected as necessary. Auditing the inventory facilitates planning for lighting upgrades and may also result in a significant refund to the municipality from the utility if it reveals over-billing.  Mr. Caton indicated that every audit Computel has completed for a Westchester municipality has resulted in a refund.  He indicated that unlike municipalities in ConEd territory, other municipalities may not own their own streetlights and thus may confront obstacles in installing more energy efficient streetlights.  Possible strategies for those municipalities include negotiating the purchase of the streetlights from the utility (costly) or working with the PSC to have LED lights added to the tariff under which those municipalities are billed for streetlights (advocating for this change could be done on a statewide basis). Information about Computel’s services and the offer provided to attendees can be found here.  For more information contact Mike Caton:     [email protected] or (800) 724-9859.

Case Study: Town of Eastchester

Updating Streetlight Inventory. Town Board member Fredrick Salanitro shared Eastchester’s experience engaging Computel for a streetlight audit and receiving a six-figure utility credit for over-charges resulting from from an incorrect streetlight inventory. Councilman Salanitro encouraged other municipalities to consider doing the same as the process was easy and resulted in both a significant refund and ongoing savings. Councilman Salanitro also shared that the Town of Eastchestr has installed LED streetlights along one of it’s major roads and has thus far been very pleased with the result. The Town plans to continue to install additional LED streetlights. For more information contact Councilman Frederick Salanitro:   [email protected].

Showcasing extraordinary cost savings and reducing energy use the City of Yonkers’ LED Street Light Project is a model of sustainability implementation. This summer, the City of Yonkers began construction of a project to replace the City’s 12,000 streets lights with energy-efficient LED lights, which will result in saving over $18 million in energy costs over the next ten years.   Brad Tito’s presentation covered all aspects of project planning, budgeting, deal structure, implementation and overall savings and benefits. Find the basics below:

Yonkers LED Street Light Project

The City of Yonkers began replacing the City’s 12,000 streets lights with energy-efficient LED lights, projected to save taxpayers over $18 million in energy costs over the next ten years.

The City spends $2.8 million annually for the energy to power its 12,000 street lights. Continuing with the existing street light system, the City would spend $28 million over the next 10 years for electricity.  (Not including the likely increase in our current cost of electricity.)  The potential for savings is huge, new LED street lights only use a fraction of the energy of the City’s current street lights.

Contractor Lumen Light Solutions LLC guaranteed that the City will achieve a minimum of $18.34 million in cost savings on the City’s electric bill over a 10 year period.  The total cost of the project is $8.7 million over 10 years.   Lumen Light Solutions is so confident in their metrics that any shortfall in the savings, will be deducted from the City’s payment to the contractor.

The City is guaranteed to realize a net financial benefit of nearly $10 million over a 10 year period.  In addition, the contractor is not paid until the street light replacement project is substantially complete, meaning all 12,000 street lights have been replaced. Lighting units will be leased by the City. With 12 year  warranty on all bulbs and 5 year warranty on equipment Lumen absorbs the risk for the City. Yonkers crews perform all maintenance with parts supplied by the contractor, safeguarding local jobs and saving the City money. At the end of the lease Yonkers will buy all the units for $1.

The project is also a home run for the environment.  This single project will cut the carbon footprint of government operations by 3,000 tons annually or nearly 10%.

“The City of Yonkers is leading by example,” said Mayor Spano. “Energy-saving improvements like LED lights are a common sense way to cut costs and protect the environment at the same time. In addition to keeping our critical infrastructure in a state of good repair, we are ensuring a more comfortable, safe and productive quality of life for our taxpayers.”

The project is taking place in three phases:

· Phase I – approximately 1,200 lights installed on streets where a street light has been reported not to be working

· Phase II – replacement of lights on major thoroughfares including Central Park Avenue, Yonkers Avenue, Nepperhan Avenue, Riverdale Avenue, South Broadway, McLean Avenue, Bronx River Road, Warburton Avenue, Saw Mill River Road, Kimball Avenue, North Broadway, Ashburton Avenue, Tuckahoe Road, East Grassy Sprain Road, Palmer Road, Midland Avenue, Scarsdale Road, and Rumsey Road.

· Phase III – Replacement of all remaining street lights in the City

The replacement project, contracted to Lumen Light Solutions (a joint venture of Yonkers Contracting and Verde Electric), is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. Once all the conventional “cobra-head” street lights are replaced, the City will save $18.3 million in energy costs, and reduce the City’s carbon footprint by 3,000 tons annually.

The new LED street lights are manufactured by Phillips Hadco, a leading LED lighting company. The new lights are extremely durable and are expected to last 80,000 hours or nearly 19 years which will results in significantly less ongoing maintenance. Additionally, the new LED street lights are free of lead, mercury and other hazardous substances.

“In Yonkers, we’re striving to think long-term, to make smart decisions, and to capture the benefits of new technology,” said Brad Tito, Director of Sustainability for the City of Yonkers. “This street light project is not just about saving energy and helping residents to see better at night, it’s about making progress toward a bright future.”

Yonkers Minority Leader John Larkin adds, “For Yonkers residents this is another example of how our City continues to find cost saving measures which reduces the tax burden on our homeowners. These LED street lights are more energy efficient, have a life expectancy three times the life of current technologies, and have fewer electrical losses which reduces maintenance efforts.”

The installation of the new LED lights are part of Mayor Spano’s overall sustainability plan which kicked off last summer when he announced a partnership with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), which includes energy saving upgrades to nine city buildings. Currently, energy efficiency upgrades have been made in Yonkers City Hall, the Cacace Justice Center, Department of Public Works Service Center, Water Bureau and Treatment Plant, the Murray Skating Center, 87 Nepperhan Avenue, 1st Precinct, 2nd Precinct/Firehouse #7, and the Grinton I. Will Library. The upgrades are projected to save taxpayers more than $249,000 annually in energy and reduce climate-changing greenhouse gases by approximately 578 tons every year.

Which company did they work with? Lumen Light Solutions, LLC, a company focused on providing LED streetlight conversions for municipalities to generate energy savings as well as improve visibility and security, handles all aspects of the conversion process under a contract that pays for the project cost from  energy savings generated.

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L to R:
Robert Craig and Heather Cuffel, Lumen Light Solutions (sponsor)
Michael Caton, Computel Consultants (sponsor)
Nina Orville (SWEAC and Abundant Efficiency)
Frederick Salanitro, Councilman, Town of Eastchester
Hartley Connett, Mayor, Village of Dobbs Ferry
Brad Tito, Sustainability Director, City of Yonkers

Dobbs Ferry is Saving Money and They are Willing to Share Their Contract

The Dobbs Ferry Case Study:

Dobbs Ferry did an analysis of energy consumption and discovered that street lights represented
about half the Village’s electric consumption and were a significant – and rising cost.
This led DPW Superintendent to take the initiative of exploring more energy efficient lighting.

Sample lights from different vendors installed and performance assessed over the period of a year.
RFP – was issued and quotes up to 40% lower than expected.

Over period of 1 year

Considered specifications

Tested several different streetlights.

Developed RFP

Issued first with unintended restriction in specifications.  Reissued several months later. Final price of selected product was 35% lower than quotes received at the beginning of the process.  ($348/unit for 47 watt Hadco cobra heads from Swift).

Dobbs Ferry required 300 lights.

Wrote contract for up to 1,000 unites with provision that neighboring municipalities could purchase off the Dobbs Ferry contract (in the end Hastings took advantage of this).

The Economics Look Like This:

Product Cost: $104K (installation by Village)

Annual Savings: $48K+ (compared to incandescent) – the LEDs use 75% less energy

Payback: 2.2 years – warranty = 5 years.

Annualized return over 10 years: 46%

The Village bundled financing required for this project with other projects in the capital budget. Funds were borrowed on a 5 year term.

Consider energy projects like any other investment.
Energy efficiency projects can solve operational and maintenance problems (e.g. library projects).
Measurement and verification of projects completed increases confidence in future projects (Dobbs uses UtilityTrac).
Collaboration between municipalities can reduce the burden on each municipality (LED streetlight project required significant investment of time) as well as drive down costs.

Replacing / repairing streetlights is labor and equipment-intensive

Requires electrician and bucket truck.

All LED lights installed have functioned properly since installation.

Guaranteed for 5 years
Option to purchase additional 5 year warranty but judged not cost effective.

Contrasts with incandescent lights with very short life and HPS lights whose bulbs need to be replaced every 2-3 years on average.

Next will look at replacing HPS which we believe has pay-back within 5 years too. The Village has pursued grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy very aggressively but has also made a practice of approving all energy efficiency improvements that have a payback period of 5 years or less. In addition to the streetlight replacements, we’re also replacing the lights in the senior center with LEDs and that project has a payback of a little over 3 years, replacing old HVAC equipment with new high efficiency equipment, installing new controls, etc.

Note to Municipal Leaders!

Dobbs Ferry’s LED streetlight contract is available to other municipalities (Dobbs needed 300 and wrote the contract for 1,000): Hastings on Hudson has purchased off the contract and the opportunity has been shared with other municipalities that are considering it. SWEAC and Dobbs Ferry are happy to share documentation with municipalities that are interested.

Check out SWEAC’s website for more information