LED Pilot Project

Have you noticed a difference in downtown lighting recently?

There are 9 LED retrofits that have been installed in different decorative streetlamps for this demonstration pilot project. This is a collaborative research project between the Town of Nantucket's Energy Office and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) students to determine the social and economic feasibility of implementing LED retrofits in the Town's decorative streetlamps, the majority of which are located in the downtown historic core downtown. The purpose of this LED pilot project is to assess the potential benefits and the public opinions of the various LED lights, which vary in color and brightness.

Project Overview:
The Town of Nantucket owns nearly 200 decorative streetlamps, which are located throughout the island of Nantucket, primarily in the downtown historic core and in the village of Siasconset. In fiscal year 2014, the Town paid $14,250 in electricity bills, as well as approximately $36,000 in maintenance and repair costs. Currently, there is no established system for keeping an accurate inventory of the Town’s streetlamp locations, conditions, nor maintenance history. In fact, many streetlamps are missing their identifying numbers completely. Streetlamp outages remain a constant issue to manage by both Town Administration and the Department of Public Works. Throughout the year, concerned residents and business owners will frequently report non-functioning streetlamps to the Town via phone calls, emails and the SeeClickFix App. However, when streetlamps are reported as non-functioning, the process to trouble shoot and eventually fix the streetlamps is complicated and inefficient. Currently, under the S-3 Option B tariff, National Grid is obligated to troubleshoot and replace the streetlamp photocell sensor and bulb and to test that power is present at the base of the streetlamp. All other repair work is assigned to Ryder Electric (Town’s contracted electrician). However, at this time, neither National Grid nor Ryder Electric is consistently communicating to the Town of Nantucket about key details about the repair work performed at each streetlamp, and as a result, many streetlights have yet to be fixed. When the streetlamps are fully operational, they emit a warm diffused light that many would agree enhances the aesthetic appeal of the surroundings; evoking the sense of an earlier era.

However, faced with rising electricity costs, the frequent tendency for lamps to “go dark,” and a civic duty to help reduce Nantucket’s peak electricity load*, the Town of Nantucket would like to further investigate the social and economic feasibility of an LED conversion project. As is the case with any community-wide project, an LED retrofit project should provide an opportunity for public input. Installation of demonstration sites and photo documentation of individual lights before and after changing to LEDs may help to answer residents’ questions and illustrate the benefits of the new technology, such as: reduced maintenance costs, reduced energy usage/costs, decreased light pollution, decreased light trespass, and enhanced visibility, and performance.

Project Objectives: The Town of Nantucket Energy Office will support a WPI Student Research Team to:

1. Research and collect field data to reconcile and establish an accurate streetlamp database, which contains: GPS coordinates, style of lamp, condition report, repair activity, and other relevant categories for all of the Town’s 199 decorative streetlamps

2. Use captured data to generate a publically accessible, interactive map for reporting outages and checking on repair status using Google Maps

3. Pilot LED retrofit kits from three different manufacturers (PennGlobe, Amerlux, LED Conversions ) and design a survey to gauge public acceptance and attitudes towards the various LED retrofit kits

4. Perform an economic analysis of cost savings with reduced tariff rate (from S-3 Option B to S-5) reduced maintenance costs, and eligible incentives

The LED pilot locations are identified by signs on the lamp posts.
Each sign has a QR code linked to a survey for public feedback. Please take the survey at the streetlamps to provide your feedback!
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Did you know?

LEDs were discovered in 1907 by Henry Round and since then have been further developed and improved by many researchers. Here are some of the fun facts about LEDs:
  • Can last more than 50,000 hours!
  • Use only 1/3 of the electricity compared to the current lighting (High Pressure Sodium)
  • Since they use less electricity, they also lessen the carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere.
  • Unlike the current lighting, LEDs do not contain mercury that can harm the environment when being disposed. 
  • LED lights can, theoretically, be any color!
  • Are not prone to vibration on the streets, therefore more durable. 
  • Do not emit a lot of heat or UV light into the surroundings. 

Case Studies:

Other towns across the country have been piloting the LED retrofits for streetlights in order to reduce the amount of money used on streetlights' maintenance and operating costs. For more about LED case studies: