In the initial phase of the project, completed in June 2011, 730 street lights in Asheville’s River District and Kenilworth neighborhoods were replaced with 67-watt to 195-watt LEDway luminaires, estimated to save the City $45,000 in annual energy costs. An additional 2,913 LEDway street lights are currently being installed, and the City anticipates saving 50 percent of current energy use and maintenance costs due to the LED upgrade.
“Upgrading to LED street lights allows us to decrease energy consumption, increase energy efficiency and contribute to the sustainability of our community,” said Maggie Ullman, energy coordinator for the Asheville Office of Sustainability. “This exciting initiative helps affirm Asheville’s role as a leader in carbon footprint reduction.”
Asheville’s city-wide street light upgrade project complies with the City Council’s 2008 lighting ordinance, designed to reduce glare and light pollution. In 2009, Asheville City Council unanimously approved using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to fund efficiency initiatives, including the first phase of the street light replacement. The revolving fund rolls energy savings back into the city’s green and efficiency initiatives.
Progress Energy, which serves the City of Asheville, provides N.C. Utilities Commission-approved rate tables to its customers that choose LED street lights. In addition to helping its customers understand the energy cost savings of LED technology, Progress Energy provides the option of renting or owning LED lighting fixtures.
“As more municipalities commit to replacing outdated, inefficient lighting with the support of their local utilities, LED adoption and consumer awareness continue to increase,” said Christopher Ruud, president of Ruud Lighting, a Cree Company. “We applaud the City of Asheville and Progress Energy for working together for the benefit of its citizens demonstrating the growing trend of cities and municipalities working together to join the LED lighting revolution.”