Graybar Helps Utah Gain Energy Grant

Wins $1.2M for 14 Cities

Sodium and LED Comparison

See The Difference

In the photo above you can see the contrast of the LED streetlights (right) when compared to the previous sodium vapor lights (left).

Burnt Out

Rural Utah is widely known for its beautiful, starry skies. But, with recent growth and the expansion of buildings and roads, the beauty has been threatened by light and smog pollution, due in part to streetlight emissions.

The Utah Associated Municipal Power System (UAMPS) recognized the opportunity to apply for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) to retrofit a portion of the streetlights throughout the state in order to increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution. UAMPS is a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit agency that provides wholesale electricity to 51 community-owned power systems in the West.

“We work with smaller municipalities, so they typically need assistance making energy efficiency upgrades,” said Cathryn Collis, project manager at UAMPS. “Many of our members don’t meter their streetlights, so the cost of running the lights comes straight out of their budgets. We found the available EECBG, but in order to make our application more competitive, we also asked each member to pledge to reinvest the cost savings in additional LEDs for three years.”

Fourteen cities responded to a call-to-action from UAMPS, and were interested in swapping their typical sodium vapor streetlights for energy-efficient, cost saving LEDs.

Rather than one large lamp, the cobra-head style LED fixtures have 30 individual LEDs that are engineered to direct light downward and eliminate wasted light. They are designed by manufacturers to be up to 50 percent more efficient than traditional cobra-head fixtures and have a 92,000-hour life expectancy, compared to a traditional lamp’s 24,000 hours of output, according to manufacturers’ estimates.

To be considered for the EECBG, UAMPS needed to provide the state with a competitive energy-saving bid to install the LED streetlights on behalf of all 14 cities, so they turned to Graybar’s Salt Lake City branch for analysis.

Save Our Stars: Sending Out An S.O.S.

“UAMPS came to us and trusted that we could find the right products for this situation, while adhering to the rigid government requirements of the application process,” said Brian Ekstrom, sales representative and lighting specialist at Graybar’s Salt Lake City branch.

Sodium and LED Comparison

Graybar researched and analyzed comparable factors for three LED manufacturers. Not only did the products have to be energy efficient, but they also had to be American-made and meet strict performance, reliability and timeline demands.

“There were so many things to consider for this bid,” said Ekstrom. “It wasn’t apples to apples. But we were able to provide a quality analysis with fair comparisons, looking at things like light pattern, output levels and ability to customize.”

Graybar began coordinating efforts with the chosen LED light manufacturer’s local representative, DMA.

Graybar worked with each city to develop photometric layouts, determine the number of LED fixtures needed and recommend the right optics. Furthermore, Graybar obtained and shipped test lamps to each city and completed late night roadway test phases with the Utah Department of Transportation, so that recipients could see the difference firsthand before deploying the whole order.

“I went from skeptic to believer,” said Dave Steel, the Oak City Town Council member in charge of the electric department. “I’ve tried CFLs before to see if we can recommend them, but was not impressed. After the first night of having LED lights, I was convinced that was the way to go.”

“People are so amazed that you have such high quality light but no light pollution. The energy savings are really dramatic.”

Cathryn Collis, UAMPS Project Manager

Down The Road

UAMPS and Graybar developed a competitive proposal, which estimated that roughly 1,700 streetlights would be replaced, allowing an estimated 58 percent increase in energy efficiency and an estimated savings of $27,000 per year for the state. In addition, the retrofit was projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent statewide.

The proposal also included a disposal plan for the old lamps and a recycling plan for the old fixtures. In addition, the installation of LED fixtures could save more than 4,500 man-hours per year for some cities, due to low maintenance costs.

In May of 2010, UAMPS was awarded the EECBG, worth $1.2 million.

“The stars’ glow is back,” said Ekstrom. “This is such a great investment for Utah, and the money they save on lighting can go directly back into other energy-efficiency programs. By finding an American-made manufacturer, UAMPS is also supporting local and national economic growth.”

UAMPS was the first organization selected to receive the EECBG. The grant, funded with Utah’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money, has now restored the starry nights that many Utah residents have been missing.

“These lights are also night sky friendly,” said Steel. “Amateur astronomers in the area are now able to see the sky from their yards,” Steel said. “By switching to LEDs, we have been able to preserve some of our rural characteristics.”

“Everyone loves the lights,” said Collis. “The people are so amazed that you have such high-quality light but no light pollution. The energy savings are really dramatic. People have noticed.”

 

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