Edmonds leads way as PUD installs new LED streetlights

The planned upgrade of Edmonds’ streetlights to modern LEDs is now underway, as Snohomish PUD contractor Potelco begins work replacing 1,600 outdated inefficient high-pressure sodium fixtures. According to PUD senior streetlight designer Dave Lindemuth, the new fixtures will last longer and use less energy, cutting both maintenance and operation costs.

Originally planned to begin last year, the work was delayed in part due to concerns about potential environmental effects of the new lighting fixtures. As reported by My Edmonds News in October 2016, the original plan called for using LED fixtures that emitted light richer in cooler, blue wavelengths with a color corrected temperature (CCT) of 4000 Kelvin or more. (More information on the Kelvin scale as a measure of light color is available here.)

But reports from the American Medical Association and others raised concerns about possible adverse effects of shorter wavelength light, with the AMA concluding that communities should be careful “to minimize and control blue-rich environmental lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible,” and recommending using fixtures with a CCT no higher than 3000K. (Read the AMA statement here.)

Since then, the PUD and Edmonds have worked together to ensure that the fixtures to be installed in Edmonds would meet the AMA recommendations.

“We are looking forward to the completion of this energy-savings and safety project by SnoPUD,” said Edmonds Public Works Director Phil Williams. “This effort will provide better lighting throughout Edmonds while significantly reducing electricity consumption and the carbon footprint of the street lighting system. We appreciate all the cooperation we received on this issue from our local utility.”

“Work is now underway in Edmonds, and residents should see Potelco crews working to replace the old fixtures with the new LEDs, so residents can look forward to brighter streets as the days get shorter,” said the PUD’s Lindemuth. “If all goes on schedule work should be complete no later than early 2018.”

But it’s not just Edmonds.

“We learned a lot working with Edmonds on this,” said Lindemuth. “As a result, the PUD has now adopted 3000K LEDs as the standard for streetlights, and will ultimately replace all 37,000 fixtures in our service territory with these.”

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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