Surrey will spend $11 million over the next five years to upgrade its street lights to LED.
The decision, endorsed by council Monday , means the city’s 28,000 existing street lights will be converted to Light Emitting Diodes (LED) a lower-energy lighting technology.
The city will start with replacing 7,100 street lamps in Guildford and City Centre.
Once completed citywide, the move is expected to result in annual savings of approximately $1,000,000 through reduced power consumption and maintenance.
Traffic Operations Manager Sinisa Petrovic said Wednesday that the province will be refunding about 30 per cent of the city’s overall costs, bringing the net charge to the city to about $7.7 million.
Petrovic noted the LED lighting lasts 30 years, as opposed to the current sodium lighting which lasts about five years.
Once completely installed, Surrey will save $700,000 a year in power savings and another $300,000 annually for maintenance and replacement.
Some residents in other cities where the LED lighting is in place complain that it’s too bright. But Petrovic said the LEDs can be adjusted for the right lighting needs.
Some studies show LEDs have high volumes of lead and arsenic, but that’s predominantly small red LEDs and less so with home LED lighting, Petrovic said, adding it’s not a concern with the street lighting.
Mayor Linda Hepner described the decision to switch as “another example of Surrey being at the forefront of smart cities.”
“For motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, the LED lights will enhance visibility and safety. LED lights also consume less power than the current sodium lights, which will result in significant cost savings to the city once the conversion is complete,” Hepner said in a news release.
According to the release, LED lights make it easier for motorists to see pedestrians and signs, and the lighting quality of LEDs also results in reduced eyestrain and fatigue.
Coun. Mike Starchuk, chair of the city’s environmental sustainability advisory committee, said the move “fits well with the goals for a sustainable Surrey.”
LED lights are more environmentally friendly as they consume less power and last four times longer than sodium lights, he said.