Let there be (energy-efficient) light.
The city of Worcester will mark the completion of a year-long project Tuesday that replaced more than 14,000 old street lights with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Crews spent the last year replacing street light bulbs — whether the old ones needed to be removed or not.
"There's a pretty significant savings that can be had from switching from an older, high-pressure sodium light that was probably near the end of its life expectancy anyway," said John O'Dell, the Worcester Energy and Asset Director. "When we realized what the math was and the cost to demobilize and remobilize a crew to go out and change the lights it just made more sense to do them all at once."
City officials predict changing the street lights, as well as those in city-owned parking garages, will save nearly $1 million a year and reduce energy use by those lights by 40 percent. The lights can be automatically dimmed from a central location which could reduce the energy use by as much as 60 percent.
Crews also installed a control system on each street light that will inform the city if the bulb goes out, if there are transmission problems to the light or even if a car crash brings down the light pole.
Next spring, the city will replace exterior lights at other city-owned locations.
"That includes lights at the parks, the cemeteries, at the schools," O'Dell said. "All those other lights that the city pays an electric bill for, we're going to switch all of those other lights as well."