2018-01-26 / In the Know

Scarborough looks to street light conversion

By B. Michael Thurlow Special to the Leader

The town of Scarborough incurs significant annual costs related to street lighting. Approximately 1,100 of the existing street lights are owned by Central Maine Power (CMP). The town is interested in reducing street light costs by retrofitting these street lights to light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

LED lights consume approximately 50 percent less energy than their high-pressure sodium luminaire predecessors. Those lights, mostly installed in the mid-1980s, are at the end of their useful lives and need replacement. LEDs will provide better service reliability and lower maintenance costs.

New LEDs have a longer lifespan – about four times greater than the bulbs currently used. The extended maintenance cycle for bulb replacement translates to ongoing savings. Less maintenance also means fewer service vehicle trips for repairs and thus reduced carbon emissions.

In 2015 the Maine Legislature passed a law that allows cities and towns to buy the street lighting equipment from electric utilities and replace the existing equipment with the new technology.

Because of this law, approximately 25 municipalities in the state of Maine have retained or are currently in the process of engaging in LED street light conversion services through a variety of consultants.

The Scarborough Town Council approved approximately

$700,000 in capital improvement project funding in the fiscal year 2018 budget for a town-wide LED streetlight conversion.

On Sept. 6, 2017, town staff released a request for proposal (RFP) titled, “Conversion of Town Street Light System to LED Fixtures and from Utility Owned to Municipally Owned and Maintained Fixtures on Utility Owned Poles.”

The purpose of the RFP process was to identify the most qualified respondents to support the town in LED street light conversion. Following analysis of the responses to this RFP, firms were invited for interviews on Nov. 2, 2017 conducted by an evaluation committee with a firm being selected for further negotiation.

The evaluation committee was comprised of Scarborough staff from public works and information technology, a Scarborough resident and an electrical engineer retained by the Town for the technical assistance

After carefully reviewing proposals from four firms, the Town of Scarborough selected TEN Connected Solutions. Their lighting and technology experts have helped town staff develop specifications for the lighting equipment to be used in the project with careful consideration of the recommendations from the American

Medical Association and the International Dark Skies Association.

The Town has brought in local lighting expert James Hebert of Colby Company Engineering to provide third party review of the project and provide independent analysis of the technical details.

In collaboration with engineers from TEN Connected Solutions and Colby Company Engineering, town staff is currently evaluating: streetlights fixtures, lighting controls that would allow adjustment to lighting levels and intelligent traffic signals in select locations. Town staff is working closely with the Scarborough Energy Committee to determine locations of demonstration areas where the selected LED fixture and color temperatures can be viewed by residents prior to town-wide installation in late spring.

The locations of the demonstration areas will be announced in a future town newsletter and also on the town’s Facebook page.

For more information about the LED street light conversion process, please contact Kerry Strout Grantham directly at 730-4049.

B. Michael Thurlow is fire chief for Scarborough. He can be reached at mikethurlow@scarboroughmaine.org.

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