LEDs Light Path Across The U.S.

Government incentives motivate municipalities to make smart energy decisions.

The Amerlux Avista pedestrian light engine lights almost 800 mi. around the country—equivalent to the distance between New York City and Chicago.

The Avista pedestrian light engine from Amerlux, Oakland, NJ, lights almost 800 mi. around the country—equivalent to the distance between New York City and Chicago.

The unit’s IP66-rated, sealed LED optical chamber and optics work in new post-top luminaires or retrofits, and reportedly take less than 15 min./unit to install. In addition, the light engine helps municipalities and universities save as much 75% in energy consumption, or even more with the use of controls.

Said Frank Diassi, the company’s founder and chairman, “Like universities and corporate parks, municipalities have the opportunity to dramatically cut their energy bill with support from the federal government.”

Billion-dollar government incentives are motivating municipalities to make smarter energy decisions with regulations that underwrite the expense until the incentives expire in 2019. Federal regulations, such as the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, continue to demand more energy efficiency with the next scheduled increase set for Jan. 1, 2020. Consequently, federal agencies and municipalities have started to turn their collective attention to LED solutions, which would position them for the higher standards.

In addition, energy efficiency is a big part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which remains in effect until the end of 2019. The $831-billion relief package offers plenty of line items for “green” technology. The law includes $13-billion worth of tax credits for companies to improve energy efficiency and another $4.5 billion for federal agencies to do the same.

Pedestrian lights remain a product category with a huge business upside opportunity for energy savings companies (ESCOs) as corporations and government agencies search for higher energy efficiency before the existing grants and tax credits expire. According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, report, 2016 LED “Street/Roadway” lighting, which includes pedestrian lighting, reached a market penetration of 28.3% with 12.5-million units installed. The projects generate an annual energy savings of 14.9 million Btu, although the potential annual savings is estimated at 106 million Btu.

To date, the City of Los Angeles has upgraded more than 600 decorative streetlights with Avista LED light engines. Since the upgrade, the city has realized as much as a 75% reduction in lighting energy consumption and costs in the upgraded area, while visitors benefit from enhanced visibility and greater peace of mind.

“The downtown area went from dingy, yellow 250-watt HPS fixtures with a monochromatic 2100-K color temperature and ‘glare bomb’ properties to long-life, 60-watt LED technology with a much cooler color temperature and significantly improved color rendering,” said Charles Valdepena, principal of Los Angeles-based manufacturer’s rep agency ACV Lighting Consultants, about the transformation. “The effect is now a brighter, pleasant, soft blanket of light that enhances visual acuity and uniformly distributes the majority of light downward where it’s needed.”

For Portland, OR, the challenge was the shape of the luminaire’s globe and how to adapt LED technology to its exact specifications. Amerlux’s Avista addressed the challenge.

Kenny Hettrich, principal of Hillsboro, OR-based manufacturer’s rep agency Hy-Light Group Inc., said, “Amerlux took great efforts to customize fixtures to the city’s exact needs, deliver pristine product, and provide exceptional customer service”—from fine-tuning the design to ensure Type III street optics with the optimal amount of lighting to creating a specialized acrylic version of the original globe based on detailed drawings of the vintage product.

Since completing installation of the bulk of its acorn fixtures in July 2017, city management has been delighted with the results. “We went from 100-watt HPS to 42-watt LEDs, saving the city approximately 60% in energy consumption and costs,” said Lisa Elbert, P.E., signals and lighting engineer with the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, who added that a rebate the city secured on the LEDs from the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy further boosted the project’s ROI and reduced its payback period.

Amerlux’s upgraded Avista light engine delivers 110 lumens/W, compared to a marketplace standard of 90 lumens.

The light engine uses the directional nature of LEDs to aim 96% of the light down to the ground, essentially eliminating the light pollution that was common in so many decorative post-top fixtures, while saving energy.

The luminaire meets new 4.0 standards of the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), Medford, MA (designlights.org), which qualifies the product for rebates to shorten the ROI payback period. The light engine is available for teardrop-style luminaires and offers specification options including wattages to 68 and a lumen output to 7500. The LED engine is available in standard color temperatures of 2700 K, 3000 K, and 4000 K, and custom temperatures. The product offers three horizontal lighting distributions—symmetric, asymmetric, and low-glare street optic—so users can direct the light where it is needed.

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