Energy-efficient streetlights are not just a promise of a brighter future. They’re also making streets safer today, now that the process of converting existing streetlights is under way. In May, contractors for Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) began working in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood to replace cobra-head-style high-pressure sodium vapor (HPS) lights with LEDs.
According to the City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability, LED lights provide a fuller, clearer light than HPS lights, have a longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs, and reduce energy consumption by 50% or more, which in turn reduces carbon emissions.
Dubbed Operation Night Light, the conversion of 27,000 existing street lights is the second phase of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s initiative to end the moratorium on streetlights dating back 35 years. The City will absorb the cost of the retrofits using a GE-branded LED fixture, recommended by IPL after testing a number of different LED lights produced by different companies.
While IPL has identified a LED bulb that will fit historic streetlight fixtures like the ones used along Meridian Street and in Forest Hills, the City is waiting to determine if sufficient savings are realized after 4,000 new streetlights are installed before committing to convert historic streetlights. The City estimates that the installation of new lights could continue through 2025.
Existing HPS lights will be recycled, according to Claire Dalton, IPL public relations manager. “IPL will furnish all containers and dumpsters for the old fixtures and materials and the contractor is responsible for disassembling the old fixtures and sorting the pieces into the proper containers,” Dalton said. The four different components—glassware, capacitors, lamp fixtures, and ballasts—will be removed and separated into the appropriate containers for recycling, she said.
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