City of Gaithersburg Updated LED Street Light Conversion (3,750 Lights to be Converted to Energy Efficient LED)

by MCS Staff

Per the City of Gaithersburg: As part of its strategic plan to enhance environmental sustainability and improve public safety, the City of Gaithersburg has developed a five year project to convert all City-owned street lights from the current high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures to the more energy efficient light emitting diode or (LED) fixtures.

LEDs require less maintenance and are more energy efficient, which contributes to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emission associated with their use. Streetlights are important to the safety of our City, and in addition to being more efficient, LEDs also create a more even spread of light, minimizing bright and dark spots. The light appears brighter and whiter, making it easier than traditional yellow looking HPS lights to identify what’s illuminated below. All the fixtures have a color temperature of no more than 3000k. This reduces the sharpness of the light and is deemed best practice by both the International Dark Sky Association and the American Medical Association. The new light fixture will be similar in style to the existing fixtures.

All these factors contributed to the City’s plan to convert the over 3,450 City-owned street lights to LEDs. To complete this project in an economical and efficient manner, the conversion will occur in five phases over the next five years. This project is budgeted in the Capital Improvement Fund. Over 411,000 dollars of rebates from the EmPower Maryland fund are pre-approved for this project.  The City also received a grant of 55,000 dollars from the Maryland Department of the Environment for this work.

Light flow, safety, equity and budget considerations were the factors considered that produced the conversion schedule below. To see when lights in your neighborhood will be converted check out this map.

 Project Phase  Construction Window
 Phase 1  FY 20 (July 2020 – December 2020)
 Phase 2  FY 21 (July 2021 – August 2022)
 Phase 3  FY 22 (August 2022 – December 2022)
 Phase 4  FY 23 (July 2023 – December 2023)
 Phase 5  FY 24 (July 2024 – December 2024)

Street lighting is the highest consumer of electricity in the City. Once all of the lights have been converted, the City anticipates a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with powering the streetlights, eliminating approximately 615 metric tons of emissions annually.


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