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Municipalities begin to see benefits of commercial LEDs

Amid a large-scale LED installation in the Northwest, companies prepare their LED lighting systems for an upcoming competition.

New Streelights reported Portland General Electric, Oregon’s largest electric utility, launched an energy reducing initiative aimed at cutting energy costs for municipal customers by installing LED streetlights. Already, more than 8,000 high pressure sodium (HPS) cobrahead streetlights were replaced with an LED option. An additional 47 cities and five counties are slated in the PGE project. They hope to replace an estimated 26,000 streetlights by 2014.

“While we are primarily focused on replacing cobrahead fixtures, we are working on evaluating options for decorative streetlights as well,” said Brianne Hyder, spokesperson for PGE.

While the primary installations, such as the Clackamas County installation in February, will focus on reducing energy consumption using low wattage LED fixtures. PGE is offering their customers a few options, including the LED cobrahead fixtures manufactured by Cree Lighting in Durham, N.C. Installations in other participating counties, such as Columbia, Multnomah, Marian, Yamhill, Polk and Columbia, will be paid for upfront by PGE. The savings, which are expected to be significant, will then be passed on to the customers and a new rate structure has already been developed taking the savings into account.

“We expect the new LED streetlight fixtures for use up to 70 percent less energy resulting in significant savings for our customers,” Hyder told New Streetlights.

Beat the competition
On July 8, the Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) Outdoor Design competition opened its doors to prospective companies. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy via the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, the Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Association of Lighting Designers, the competition is designed to recognize and award progress in LED lighting and the products and companies that pursue excellence in the field.

Assessing street and roadway lighting, including LED cobrahead fixtures used by PGE, the competition will evaluate both utility and decorative lighting solutions. Fixtures used in different applications, like streetscapes, collector roads, local residential roads or major roadways can all be entered. Judges will determine the winners based on performance in a number of different categories including light distribution, color quality, appearance, energy efficiency and lumen maintenance, among others.

General Electric’s “Evolve” won the Best in Class award in 2012 and 2009. Other category winners include a number of products by Philips Roadway Lighting, such as the SCHX5 and the RoadStar fixtures.

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