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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases

April 5, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Scott Opfer, Public Works, 441-7851
Todd Hall, Lincoln Electric System, 473-3282


Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced the City will test a light-emitting diode (LED) street light to evaluate the technology and its energy efficiency and to determine how its payback may reduce electricity costs and light pollution compared to current street lights. The City Public Works and Utilities Department asked the Lincoln Electric System (LES) to test the LED streetlight technology.

The Lumecon Company of Farmington Hills, Michigan donated the LED light for the test. The test will occur on Indigo Court, seven blocks north of Superior and 20th streets.  LES has measured the light output of the current high pressure sodium vapor streetlight at that location and plans to retro-fit the LED fixture. The test will continue for two months, and a measurement will be made of the light output of the LED streetlight. Area residents are encouraged to comment.

"The City has cut electricity usage and saved $30,000 by converting most of the City’s 406 traffic signals and 2,411 pedestrian signals to LED lights," Seng said.  "The test results help the City know if is it economically feasible to begin using LED streetlights or if we should wait until the technology and payback are better."

Lincoln has 27,550 streetlights. In 2006, the City of Lincoln paid $745,000 to light the City’s streets. Preliminary tests of LED street lights in other communities show that energy savings could be 20 percent.  According to reports, Ann Arbor, Michigan conducted a similar test and figured a three-year payback compared to metal halide lights streetlights.

In addition, significant savings on maintenance costs could also be realized if the LED technology lives up to the manufacturer’s claims of a 10- to12-year life span.  High pressure sodium vapor lights used in most of the current street lights typically last four to five six years.

City Councilman Dan Marvin and Mayor Seng have been discussing ways to lower electric usage to reduce the amount of higher priced electricity LES has had to purchased as a result of the storm damage to the high power electric transmission lines during the winter.

"If we can reduce the usage, we might be able to shorten how long the temporary rate surcharge would be needed," Marvin said.

Seng said she has asked LES officials to work with City Departments on ways to reduce overall electricity usage in delivering City services. Public Works could determine if money can be saved without reducing safety by setting some traffic lights on a flashing mode between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. or dimming some street lights overnight.

"The City should set an example and reduce electricity usage for two important reasons - it’s better for the environment and it saves money," Seng said.

"Every minute that a machine is off saves energy and lowers costs," Marvin said.

Seng said she will issue a memo reminding City employees to always turn off all lights and electrical items when the room is not in use; to turn off computers, monitors and printers every night and on the weekends; and to set the "wait time" on personal computers to five minutes or less before the monitor shuts off automatically; and to not use screen savers. With more than 1,500 computers used by the City, this could potentially save thousands of dollars.

One way citizens can help reduce electricity consumption is by following any of the tips suggested by LES and using compact fluorescent bulbs. The bulbs use less electricity and last seven to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

"We live in an electronic age and use a lot of electricity. Locally we have some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation, but that should not deter anyone from being energy wise and saving money. These are simple ways to lower costs and conserve," Seng said.

Mayor's Office    Media Releases