BRATTLEBORO - The Selectboard has authorized the Department of Public Works to convert all of the streetlights in town over to new energy-saving LED fixtures.
The Brattleboro Energy Committee has been working on the project for about a year, and has looked at all of the existing lights.
The board unanimously approved the plan, which includes an experimental change-over in three neighborhoods which the Department of Public Works will use to see how the new lights respond in the different urban environments.
Over the coming few weeks new lighting will be installed in the Cedar Street-Myrtle Street neighborhood, along High Street from downtown to Interstate 91 and on Putney Road, from Eaton Avenue to Technology Drive.
The committee wants to reduce the town's electric consumption by at least 7.5 percent by July 1, 2013.
The project could eventually save the town more than $68,000 annually when all of the approximately 700 streetlights are converted, which Public Works Director Steve Barrett said could take between one to three years.
Energy Committee Director Paul Cameron said the project is being undertaken to save energy, and also to improve safety by making the lighting more consistent.
In preparing the plan for the Selectboard the Energy Committee divided the town into three lighting zones that correspond with different lighting needs around town. The different LED fixtures are categorized with numbers
In residential areas with sidewalks and relatively low pedestrian activity at night, the committee wants to install 20 LED fixtures. A majority of the lights in town are in this zone, which includes most residential neighborhoods.
In multifamily residential and mixed use neighborhoods, with some home and commercial businesses, the Energy Committee thinks a little more lighting is necessary, and the committee is proposing using 30 LED fixtures. Zone two includes many of the major thoroughfares such as Western Avenue, Elliot Street and South Main Street.
And in high traffic areas, such as downtown, the town will maintain uniform and continuous lighting with 40 LED fixtures. Zone three also includes Canal Street and the northern end of Putney Road.
Barrett said the town will change the lights in the three zones and then get feedback from residents to see if changes are needed as the public works department extends the project throughout town.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.