The switch to a more energy-efficient form of street lighting in Christchurch is saving ratepayers over $1.5 million a year in electricity and maintenance costs.
Importantly, it is also reducing the city’s carbon footprint.
“We are working to convert all of the city’s street lights to LEDs (light-emitting diodes) because they are more energy-efficient, last longer, and require less maintenance,’’ says Christchurch City Council Acting Head of Transport Lynette Ellis.
The new LED street lights direct all their light in a downward direction, meaning there is less light spill into the surrounding environment and the night sky compared with the older forms of street lighting.
Since 2012 the Council has been installing LED streetlights in new subdivisions and in areas where it is undertaking roading improvements.
In late 2017 it set up an accelerated delivery program in order to maximize an 85 percent funding subsidy being offered by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
“We have changed out more than 28,000 street lights as part of the accelerated program and already we are seeing the financial benefits of the switch to the lower-powered LEDs. We have reduced our annual street lighting power consumption by more than 70 percent,’’ Ms. Ellis says.
“We have also reduced our carbon emissions by more than 1150 tonnes a year, which is significant as the Council has committed itself to become net carbon neutral by 2030.’’
Ms Ellis says the citywide conversion of NTZA subsidized lights to LEDs is nearly complete.
This will leave around 2500 lights still be converted to LED out of the nearly 44,000 that the Council has on its street light network. These lights are planned to be upgraded to LED over the next three years.
“Delays in international freight caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have slightly pushed out the timeframe for completing the accelerated delivery program of NZTA subsidized lights. At the end of June, we had swapped out 97 percent of the lights.
“We expect to have the remaining 3 percent switched over to LEDs by the end of September,’’ Ms. Ellis says.