The town and Duke Energy are beginning the second phase of a plan to put LED bulbs in all of the utility’s streetlights here.
LED, or light-emitting diode, lights use less energy than the fluorescent lights they will be replacing, and provide a more pleasing light, town spokesman Brian Bowman said.
“It’s really a two-prong benefit here,” Bowman said. “First it’s going to save us money. The thing I’m excited about is they look better. So what you’ve got is a superior product that costs less to operate.”
Fluorescent lights emit a more amber light, Bowman said, that tends to “wash out” surrounding colors, while LED light provides a “truer light.”
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LED lights are more expensive than fluorescent ones, but they last much longer. Knightdale expects the ones being installed in its streetlights to last as long as 20 years, Bowman said, saving cost in replacement bulbs not needed, and the manpower cost of changing the lights.
“Not only do they use less energy, but they require less maintenance, so you have additional savings there,” Bowman said.
Also, according to howstuffworks.com, LED bulbs also don’t employ toxic chemicals like some types of light do, and they produce less heat than traditional bulbs. They have been touted as a way to reduce carbon emissions because of their energy efficiency and long lifespan.
Two years ago, Duke began replacing light fixtures that were more than 20 years old with LEDs. Now it is beginning to upgrade newer streetlights, with the goal of going to LED technology at all 1,002 town streetlights.
So far, the town has not had to pay for the changes. Duke has estimated that the LED conversion will cost $44,350, and will charge the town once the job is complete, according to Bowman.
The town estimates the project will mean energy savings of about $14,500 a year once all the lights are switched, meaning the cost of the project will be paid off in roughly three years.
By comparison, Raleigh started switching to LEDs for its streetlights in 2015. “Knightdale’s a little bit ahead of the curve,” Bowman said.
Some parts of Knightdale are served by the Wake Electric Membership Corporation rather than Duke, and the town is working to get LEDs in their streetlights as well, Bowman said.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826