LED street lights

Guelph owns all 13,119 street lights on public rights-of-way in the city. In an effort to use less electricity, save money, reduce maintenance and provide better lighting, staff is putting forward an LED Street Light Project proposal to the Committee of the Whole on July 4, 2017. If approved by Council, staff will retrofit the City’s street lighting assets with Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology and adaptive controls.

Conversion to LED technology offers significant cost savings over our existing street lighting technology, and the initial investment can be paid back in approximately six years. The project is estimated to cost $8 million. Borrowing from existing City reserves is the funding option being proposed.

Why LEDs?

Light emitting diodes (LED) luminaires require much less energy and maintenance than Guelph’s traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures. This is one way the City can save big on costs.

Did you know…

  • Guelph has about 13,000 street lights—that’s about one street light for every 10 residents
  • Electricity for Guelph’s street lights costs about $1.74 million each year
  • Guelph’s existing HPS lights require bulb replacement every three years, which is costly and creates an unnecessary environmental burden
  • LED street lights last three to seven times longer and use less than half of the 1.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity used each year by the City’s HPS lights
  • Many other municipalities are using LED street lights, including Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, London, Barrie, and Guelph-Eramosa Township

On top of cost savings, LED street lights offer:

  • better visibility
  • reduced light pollution
  • reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  • little maintenance
  • the option to be programmed on a smart grid

Brightness and colour temperature

The technology being proposed for Guelph is not the bright and harsh lighting you may have seen in other municipalities or during our 2016 street light trail. Following consultation with the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee, staff is recommending a Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) of no more than 3000 Kelvin (K) which bears the Fixture Seal of Approval of the International Dark-Sky Association. Guelph’s LED lights will be adjusted to be Dark Sky compliant, therefore reducing light pollution and intrusion.

Adaptive controls

Adaptive control (AC) technology allows centralized control of the street lighting, compared to the current situation in which each street light is independently controlled by a dedicated, onboard photocell. AC offers cost savings by:

  • Delaying illumination at dusk
  • Ceasing illumination earlier at dawn
  • Dimming lighting late at night when traffic levels are very low
  • Identifying burnouts and day-burners immediately (or even before they happen)

This technology can also be used as a city-wide wireless mesh network, which could be used for a variety of other purposes and new services, such as:

  • Remote water meter reading
  • Smart parking (communicating available parking spaces to drivers)
  • Remote traffic signal control
  • Transit and Emergency Services intersection priority

2016 street light trial

City and Guelph Hydro staff performed a field trial of five different types of LED lights. Residents had an opportunity to see the different lights and provide feedback. Anecdotal feedback from the trial was mostly positive.

The test period ran from December 2015 to March 2016 on the following streets:

  • Edinburgh Road between Water and Bellevue streets
  • Echo Drive
  • Elson Drive at Celia Crescent
  • Forest Street west of Maple Street
  • High Park Drive at Bellevue Street

An important lesson learned from the trial is that 5000K is too bright and harsh for street lighting. As a result any future lighting implemented in Guelph will be 3000K or less.

Long-term considerations

This project supports the City’s Corporate Energy Strategic Business Plan, which aims to reduce the City’s energy costs by increasing energy productivity, improving the management of energy commodities, and generating on-site renewable energy at City facilities.

For more information

Alex Chapman, Manager, Climate Change Office
Facilities Management
519-822-1260 extension 3324