Ravenna’s new energy-efficient streetlights illuminate North Chestnut Street on Tuesday. Michael Indriolo/The Portager
New energy-efficient streetlights brighten Downtown Ravenna
City Engineer hopes new LED bulbs will draw more people downtown and cut maintenance costs
Ravenna engineers are installing the last of 150 new LED streetlights on several downtown streets, hoping to cut city maintenance costs and brighten the city at night.
The new Phillips LED bulbs shine significantly brighter than the bulbs they’re replacing despite using only a third of the wattage. Because of their efficiency and the bulbs’ lifespan of up to a decade, the project should save the city $3,500 to $4,000 per year in maintenance costs, said Bob Finney, Ravenna’s city engineer.
Rummel Electric, the contractor working on the $60,000 project, has only four new bulbs left to install in the area around Main Street. The installations require calm weather conditions and clear sidewalks for a scissor lift, so Rummel plans to finish as soon as the weather permits. Rummel will install new polycarbonate globes on each light as well.
“It is bright enough downtown, in my opinion, that you could read a newspaper on a park bench at night,” Finney said. “So that should translate into people feeling safer being downtown at night when they’re shopping or going to a restaurant.”
Ravenna’s City Council and Planning Commission have approved several restaurants’ plans for outdoor seating this upcoming spring, Finney said, so he hopes the brighter lights will help draw people to those new patios.
“I’m an engineer, not a planner, but I hope that’s going to help bring more people downtown,” he said.
First Energy offered cities and businesses small grants if they could come up with a plan to save electricity about two years ago. Ravenna didn’t finish its plan in time for the grant, but the prospect of saving on maintenance and the seven-year payback time drove the LED project forward.
Finney tested sample bulbs from three different companies to determine what could work best. Some didn’t fit the existing fixtures, didn’t project light evenly and others cost as much as $800 each, he said.
“I guess the industry standard is the type of light bulb that we used,” he said. “I still think there could be a better light bulb built for our application, but I guess nobody’s willing to do it.”
They settled on the pop can-sized Phillips bulbs at $55 apiece.
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