U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Office – Information Resources
Text-Alternative Version: Evaluating LED Street Lighting Solutions
Below is the text-alternative version of the Evaluating LED Street Lighting Solutions webcast, held July 20, 2010.
Edward Smalley: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Market Introduction Workshop, and the pre-conference webcast, Evaluating LED Street Lighting Solutions. This morning we have three panelists with us. Todd Rosenbaum from the city of Portland, with their Transportation Department. Amy Olay with the city of San Jose Department of Transportation, and Donald Walter from National Grid Outdoor Lighting Program.
Happy to see everyone here in the room, and also we have about 500 folks on the webcast remotely, so it's good to welcome everyone, and I'm glad all of you could make it today.
A little bit different here in Philadelphia. A little warmer than it is in Seattle, so that's a bit of an adjustment for some of us, and as we get going here this morning, I wanted to give everyone a quick update as to where we are in the Consortium, what we've been up to lately, and I'm going to try to remember to forward my slides as we go, so you'll have to bear with me.
So I wanted to give you a quick breakdown of consortium membership and an overview of the applications. We've received over 400 applications. A number of those were from manufacturers, but when you look at just those who will probably make up primary and advisory members, we have about 229 advisory members – or I'm sorry, in the category of municipalities, utilities, and municipally-owned utilities as well as other government agencies. And then forty-six folks who may be consultants or others involved in really the quality end of lighting out there. A few contractors and some other applicants.
It breaks down this way. There were a number of academia, a number of universities. Actually I think there were more than just the three that we show there. A number of consultants, as it points out. But take a look at the municipalities, and what we're showing here is not just the number of applications we've received, but how many we were able to actually process at this time. We were able to process 118 – not just process, I'm sorry, but confirm membership, send them out a notice, make sure that they all were aware of their member number, and how they can participate fully in the consortium.
But look at the pending area. 177. So we still have a lot of work to do to make sure that we get back to you folks. If you've received an email from us letting you know that we want more information, please go ahead and get that back to us as soon as you can. For some of you we've actually made some phone calls. So we'll be trying to work as hard as we can over the next several weeks to get that number down from 177 to eliminate some of the pending.
So I wanted to really talk about how that translates into members, and so next I wanted to just take a look at some of the comments that some of the applicants have sent in. This one here, for instance, from Chandler, Arizona says we are a city of 250,000 people with 27,000 streetlights. We have two LED projects under construction in the city. One is a 3½-mile multi-path lighting with solar powered LEDs. The other is our downtown road narrowing project retrofitted with street and pedestrian level LEDs. That, to some, is a pretty small sized area of operation or organization size as far as number of LEDs, but for Chandler, it's a really big deal for them to make some adjustments in their program.
If we take a look at the next one from the Village of Croton on Hudson in New York, it says our village operates 650 streetlights, and another 150 area lights with a utility bill for the lighting at nearly $90,000 a year. So again, a small organization, but it's very important to them that they do their operation in as an efficient way as possible, and so for them to join the consortium, they're really looking to make as an informed decision as they can. Quickly, we'll take a ––
Presentation Video Clip: –– last three times longer than the high pressure sodium lights that we currently utilize, and they consume about 40% less energy. So it's a very cost effective investment for the utility. It allows us to have better lighting at less cost, and the lights last a lot longer.
Presentation Video Clip: This is really a great program. Let me just boil it down. It saves money, which you've heard already from the superintendent of the city lights. Less money to operate, and a lot less money to maintain. They last so long. It provides for safer neighborhoods. There's the clear, natural light that we get from the LED streetlights will provide – will make for safer neighborhoods. So by better lighting our neighborhoods, better public safety, and finally it's the environmentally right thing to do. We'll use a lot less energy.
Edward Smalley: Okay, so do you intro a little of that, or do you stop in the middle? Sorry about that. So another point of view from the city of Seattle with that light there, and I think it kind of speaks for itself, where they're coming.
But here's another slide that I wanted to share with you, because the Air Force base command has operational control of nine major Air Force bases. The reason why I pointed this is out, it speaks to the diversity of need across the nation for really again, honing in on quality lighting. It's not just your streetlights, it's not just your parking lot lights. It's big, it's small, and you translate that into another organization like Georgia Power. And again, 850,000 streetlights is a behemoth of an infrastructure to try to manage, and yet they too want to be as efficient as they can.
So I want to bring these out just to show you the type of applications we've been getting in, and what's going on out there. Translate this into a map, and what you're seeing here are the pending and the primary members that have signed up. What I'm trying to show here is it's really covering the nation, isn't it? It's all across the nation that this desire to be efficient and accurate has really hit everyone.
And there's a couple of states in there who haven't quite signed on yet. Well, maybe taking a look at this might encourage them to participate a bit. You'll see that California, you've got some nice dense areas, and the same thing over in Florida and a few other areas. But really, we're hitting the nation even in Hawaii. So this is encouraging to me. It's encouraging to us because we have a nice task ahead of us, and we'll be trying to help each of these areas as we go.
So next let's take a look at progress or other progress that we've made over the last couple of months. We've selected our executive committee, and I've sent out to many of you who are participants on our mailing list this list, but I thought I'd just remind us of what that looks like today. And these folks are going to help us set some priorities, and I think this is really good.
If you haven't taken a look at our website yet, just this week we've launched the manufacturers' webpage where you can link from our main page to a webpage from manufacturers. And so what's the intent? Well, part of the intent is for manufacturers to register their products. And we're not approving products. Don't get me wrong. However, if the manufacturer has a product made in the U.S. and they follow some steps on that webpage, they can register with us and we can make that available to the participants so that they have an area to go to start looking for manufacturer products that are approved – I'm sorry, let me retract that. That are not approved, but made in America and the manufacturers will certify where these products are made.
There's another purpose of the additional link there, and that is some manufacturers would like to participate by commenting on some documents that we've produced, or perhaps speaking at an event. So again, we've made some progress there, and we're hoping that folks can go to the webpage and again, sign up to participate. There's a link there, and you'll see this presentation on our website here later, so if I go through these kind of fast, don't worry about that. But we'll be able to give you this information again.
Another progress that we've made. We've developed a small working group on the west coast looking at remote controls, and adaptive lighting controls. Alers Cheskey and the city of San Jose will chair that for us, and what we're doing there again is we're looking at this on a local level, and trying to just develop some fundamental guidelines for how to address remote monitoring. These are questions that come up. We also mentioned that we would be looking at a standard or a model guideline to show folks where to look for publications, and how to go about analyzing and selecting fixtures, and we're working on that as well.
Demonstration sites. We are looking for sites to demonstrate products, and so what we're asking from members is that you go ahead and submit to me if you will a suggested site. We'll take a look at that as a consortium and right now we'll make sure that the executive team takes a look at that as well, and we'll be trying to select sites that will best fit some of the questions that are out there. Get some of those answers to that. And so we'll select those based on location, and demographics and other items.
A quick tip. A lot of questions I've received from a number of folks is what about light loss fact, loop factors, and lumen maintenance? How do I calculate those? Does IES need to produce more documentation? And so I just threw this up here as a place for you to go ahead and take a look, do some homework. There's some guidelines out there. Do I use a .7 factor? Do I use a .85? These are questions that come up routinely, and again, the answer is well, it depends and it varies. And so these documents will help you get some guidelines on that. And in our model guideline we'll be trying to really use some more direct information as to how you can make sure you make a right decision for your installation because, quite frankly, it will vary. Are you using adaptive controls? Are you using dimming of any sort? What is your projected timeframe for your replacement? So these are questions that are out there that makes it a variable from locale to locale.
So what's coming up in the consortium then? You'll be receiving a survey of the members with their installations that we're going to be asking some questions and this should be coming out in the mail here in the next couple of weeks. But what we're going to be trying to do is get a very good picture of what the installations look like around the nation. And that allows you to compare yourself to other cities. For instance, I didn't realize the city of San Jose and the city of Seattle and the city of Portland, while they vary greatly in demographics, they have about 65,000 lights in each of those cities, and it was quite interesting. And then from that, we can extrapolate from industry practices about how they manage their systems. And so I think that's going to be of great use to a lot of people.
We have an annual meeting coming up in Huntington Beach on the 29th of September. I hope you're there. We'll be tagging onto the IES street and area lighting conference that will be held in Huntington Beach as well, so if you're going to that, this is going to make a lot of great sense, and you'll also notice that the program for the street and area lighting conference is really filled with educational parts. So what we're hoping to do is for those participating in that, we're hoping they'll also join us with our annual meeting.
So with that having been said, I believe that we're going to be moving on to our first speaker. Our first speaker is going to be Tod Rosinbum from the city of Portland, and I've got a bio for Todd in here somewhere. There we go. So first of all, Todd would like for us not to be fooled by his gray hair, but he is actually a ––
Tod Rosinbum: Or lack thereof.
Edward Smalley: Or lack thereof. But he's actually a newcomer to the street lighting industry, having only been involved in streetlights for a few years as a senior engineer for the signals, street lighting and ITS division for the city of Portland, Oregon. Portland, Oregon Bureau of Transportation. Todd's thirty-plus year career has been devoted to transportation engineering. After graduating with a Masters degree in civil engineering from the University of Washington, Todd has spent half of his professional career in the private sector as a transportation engineering consultant, and the other half in the public sector, serving as transportation engineer for the Washington state Department of Transportation, a transportation planner for the Puget Sound regional council of governments, and the traffic engineer for Waskom County.
Now as Todd comes up to the podium, pay special attention to some of the comments that he makes regarding his involvement and what he anticipates getting out of his involvement with the consortium. I think that some of the comments Todd will make are really going to be familiar to a lot of us. So please, let's welcome to the podium Tod Rosinbum.
Tod Rosinbum: Thank you. Thanks, Edward. It's a pleasure to be at the birthplace of the nation, and I think we're kind of like at the birth pangs of a brand new paradigm in lighting, so I'm really excited to be here and share with you Portland's experience.
By way of introduction I'll just talk a little bit about the way our organization in Portland is set up. We have a division that includes both traffic signals, streetlights, and ITS. About forty individuals, engineers, technicians, and electricians who service and maintain those systems. 54,000 streetlights. 44,000 are Option B lights that the city owns the equipment, but Portland General Electric actually maintains those lights. We also have over 10,000 lights that we own, and that our electricians maintain.
We have over 1,000 traffic signals in the division. A central computer system. Communications network that links every controller of each traffic signal to a hub that actually gets back to our Portland building where our engineers can actually download or upload – download traffic signal timing. Upload monitoring, you know, if it's on flash or repair, the traffic signal as needed. And our traffic operations center that is also a part of our system.
What I'm envisioning, you know, with my background mainly in transportation engineering, is now that we have this opportunity with solid state lighting to both maintain and remotely monitor and control lighting, something similar to what we've done with traffic signals in the past couple of decades. We've really replaced all the signal indications with LED lights, and we're able now to access and have an intelligent transportation network for our traffic signals. And I like to see us do an intelligent lighting system with what we can do with the potential today.
So why are we interested in solid-state lighting? Well, we have a pretty big electric bill, utility bill. $6 million per year. We compete with fire, police, and other bureaus for those general funds. Constantly being asked – every year I'm asked, what lights can we turn off? How can we lower our utility bill? You know, and I keep responding, well which lights do you want me to turn off?
We have sustainability goals. We want to reduce our greenhouse emissions. We want to invest in energy efficient measures with at least a less than or equal to ten-year payback. We have a street lighting infrastructure. A lot of that was put in in the 1980s with the high pressure sodium. Moving from mercury vapor to high pressure sodium. That's reaching the end of life. And that potential for solid state lighting is for a new generation of lighting and control makes a lot of sense to me at least.
Partnerships I think is very important as we move into this new generation of lighting. We've got partnerships with regional, with state, with a couple of utility companies. Within our city limits we have two utility companies. We're a little bit unique with that. We also are real excited about being part of the municipal street lighting consortium as well.
So a little bit of background on a couple of demonstration projects that we have done. We started doing demonstration projects back in 2008 with the Lija Loop Gateway project. You may have read the report on the U.S. DOE website. We have an ongoing Williamette Bluff light post project where we're comparing light sources. High pressure sodium versus induction, and versus LED, and I'll go into that in a little bit of detail.
The Lija Loop project began in 2008. It's a thirty-home subdivision. Eight streetlights. When we moved from high pressure sodium to LED lighting, we reduced the light output by 53%, still maintaining the minimum lighting standard that we're required to by city ordinance. So our city ordinances require us to maintain certain levels of lighting for residential and arterial street classifications.
We found a 7.6-year payback for new installations back in 2008, and a twenty-year payback for retrofits. Today, now that the cost for fixtures has gone down from $500 or $600 to the latest I've heard around $250, we're probably more in the range of a five to ten-year payback.
We wanted to get some feedback from the neighborhood. LED lighting back in 2008 was brand new to the city, so we passed out questionnaires. I think Bruce Kinzey with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory actually went out there and passed out questionnaires to every – to all thirty homes in that neighborhood.
We had eleven responses. Pretty good. Over a third responded back, mailed in their surveys, and their comments were generally positive. I'll go through a few of those comments. For example, compared to the standard street lighting on Gertz Road, which is right next to the subdivision with high pressure sodium lamps, how would your characterize the lighting in Lija Loop? Extremely different most people said. So they recognize the difference going from high pressure sodium to LED.
How about the quality of the lighting on Lija Loop? Does it greatly enhanced or inhibit your ability to see the street, or objects on it? Most people responded greatly enhances or enhances their ability to see.
How about the lighting level on Lija Loop? Is it too dim? Is it too bright? Most said just right. You know, and that was with that horizontal luminance remember reduced by 53%.
And then we asked the question, how safe do you feel under that kind of lighting, both in driving and in walking? And most people there said very safe or safe. And would you recommend this kind of lighting elsewhere? And most said they definitely would.
This is important to get this kind of feedback as a municipality who's very interested, and our City Council is very interested in what the community feels about new ideas or new introductions of lighting. Although this is a relatively small survey, it does give us somewhat of a sample.
And their comments. You know, we didn't notice any difference. Some said noticeably brighter. Some actually liked the color compared to the orange and red ones. Others said bring back our old lights. Maybe if the bulb wasn't so blue in coloring. It just doesn't cast the light as effectively, though it is better with glare. Another said excellent quality, makes me enjoy living at Lija Loop. Highly needed. We thank you for your time and support, and probably a hipster said yeah. Probably the same person who has the "keep Portland weird" on their bumper sticker.
Okay, Williamette Bluff light post project. We looked at three light sources. Five induction lights in a row. Five LED lights in a row. Five high pressure sodium lights in a row. We checked the uniformity. We measured the energy use, and we haven't gotten neighborhood feedback yet, but I live in that neighborhood so I pretty much know how people are going to respond.
There's a couple of pictures of what the fixtures actually look like. Twenty-eight foot mounting height. Similar pole spacing. Separate circuits. All on one photo electric control.
There's a picture of the uniformity comparison. You can see the high pressure sodium more of a yellow light. To your right the LED lights and then below it, the induction lights. These photos were taken by Jason Tuenge at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with the same camera settings, and with the same pole spacing, and so forth.
Quickly, we had an evaluation summary done. Main thing is you know, the high pressure sodium and the LED were similar in terms of their photometric. The induction light was a whole lot less. Only you know, .3 footcandles or an average of three Lux, but nevertheless the neighborhood seems to like the induction lights because of the softer light, quality, and also the prettier looking fixtures. Well, we couldn't do much about that.
But at least I think now with the LED light coming down in terms of their color temperature, probably there wouldn't be that much of a difference in terms of the light quality. We're seeing more like 4,000K now. Hopefully we may even get it down to less than that.
So what have learned? Among the light sources tested, LED provided the best uniformity and the most potential for controls. The payback for LED installations is improving. Like I mentioned, back in 2008 payback was pretty steep, but more recently we're finding it to be more of the five to ten-year payback, which is in our range for investment.
The apparent brightness of the LED seems to make people more comfortable when walking or driving, but there's a caveat there because that's strictly anecdotal. Strictly opinion. It's not scientific. My understanding is that FHWA has just released an RFP that's going to address those issues, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the results of that study. And finally, the residents seem to prefer the medium color temperatures to the 3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin.
So how will the consortium benefit Portland? I think the shared experience. It's huge. Sharing our experiences with other municipalities and utilities I think will be looking at performance criteria and applications as we move forward. Consistent data. Particularly with our public utility commission rate cases. Tariffs. LED tariffs. I think John's going to talk more about that. Energy measurement, maintenance requirements, and coordination with utilities. So I think those are all things that are going to benefit Portland for sure. And I believe it's going to be the same for other municipalities as well.
Next steps. Portland's going to be part of a street lighting controls working group. I'm pretty excited about that. We're looking to have a demonstration project that'll look at remote monitoring, adaptive controls, dimming capabilities. How to tie into our central communication systems, and what kind of energy measurements can we expect.
So with that, I think I'll end here.
Edward Smalley: We'll entertain some questions at the end for the panelists all together if you don't mind. Next on our program, however, I'd like to introduce once again John Walter. John is currently the manager of Outdoor Lighting for National Grid. Responsible for all outdoor lighting tariffs, policies, procedures, information systems, and asset management plans associated with the company's service territories in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, upstate New York.
During his twenty-seven years with Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, now National Grid, John has held various positions including civil structural engineer, and project manager on transmission substations, and facilities projects, quality assurance engineer, superintendent and manager of construction, inspections, and street lighting operations in western New York. And director of outdoor lighting New York.
Before joining the utility, John began his career with a private engineering company. John received a Bachelor's and Masters degree in engineering from Clarkson University, an MBA from the University at Buffalo, and is a licensed professional engineer.
So John will be joining us now. John will actually sit from his chair here as he prepares his part, and we'll give him the clicker, but please welcome John Walter.
John Walter: Thank you for joining us today. This presentation is really on a perspective from my utility. It has an awful lot of personal notes that I've come in contact with when dealing with our customers, and I thought I would just share that with everybody. It's a little bit of a dry presentation. Todd has some pictures in his. I don't. So a lot of words. But hopefully it becomes something that you can have just to refer to when it's posted on the website so that we can actually – as you go into pilots or municipalities, or other customers that are looking to get into these will have something to gauge exactly what they want to do with this.
So first of all, content. Our utility review, I'll give a little history or a little background on National Grid very quickly. From a utility perspective and some of those issues as was mentioned by Todd, some tariff-related issues, and why the utilities are viewed as a hindrance or a roadblock to the adoption of LEDs. Then I'll join in on some pilot projects and really it's not any specific project. We do have a few that we're looking into at this point. We do not have any that have actually been in a test mode, but what I want to talk about is some of the things we've learned as we try to get our customers together with us to have a pilot project. Finally, a commentary really for Ed. He wanted to know what the values are for being in this consortium.
So just quickly if I outline from the northeast, we do have upstate New York, quite a bit of Massachusetts, all of Rhode Island, and a sliver of New Hampshire. In the lower left corner you'll see that we generate about $100 million in revenue for our street lighting business. We have about 30,400 accounts that we manage. It equates to about 600,000 lights in the field. And we've got about 1.8 million components that are part of our asset management plan that we try to manage with a net book value of about $153 million.
Okay, from a utilities perspective, solid state lighting specifically and LEDs, the issues are that we do recognize the benefits. Everybody's talking about the energy efficiency. It supports many of our own internal goals. We have energy efficiency metrics and whole departments that continue to work towards that, and also the worldwide carbon footprint reduction numbers that we're trying to meet.
We recognize it's environmentally friendly, especially with RoHS compliance and other aspects of that. And operational life. As a utility having 600,000 lights, we thoroughly recognize it. We could gain quite a bit on operational cost savings if these lights were to go in. Also, the customer satisfaction element would really rise. We wouldn't be expecting the customers to be calling in as much with regard to lamp outage.
Our concerns, however, really go towards component product quality. The idea that you know, the luminaire in this case is only as good as its weakest link, so you have those major elements of where were the LEDs constructed, what quality went into those LEDs? How about the drivers? What's the thermal management that's really embedded in there? Then you go into the lack of standardization. All aspects, really everybody that's manufacturing these components these days, they're doing it on their own if you will. They're buying from subordinate manufacturers. And you really have to wonder what you're getting. There isn't anything that's really interchangeable at this point in time. Again, having 600,000 lights, and the potential of having different styles and not having any standardization is problematic for utility.
The manufacturer integrity. Again, I talked about you're going to be talking to a manufacturer who's going to be trying to sell a product, but in the end it's where have all those components been made? What's the integrity of that manufacturer? Where's their manufacturing process? What kind of quality steps do they have in that?
And then finally, the industry changes. In addition to just the LED technology or the light source technology coming out, we have to be more concerned about what's happening with the legislative issues going forward. Again, what we're looking to do is do things in a very long-term setting. So we don't want to adopt something today that's going to be noncompliant with legislative mandates going forward.
And of course, we're very cautious in dealing with municipalities as our primary customer with regard to societal impacts. We are cognizant of sky glow and light trespass, and the idea that the LEDs are very directional, you're going to start losing a little bit of the spill light that lights those sidewalks in front of the homes. What about the person walking their dog? I mean, these are all the things that we hear about, we try to talk to customers about, so that they have a full understanding of what it is that they're really looking to do.
So the utilities issues as we move forward with regard to adoption and implementation – and again, as I stated, we're always often viewed as the obstacle here. The utility business model and its incorporated tariffs and rates, first of all, is a very long-term proposition that we try to deal with, so not like the common open market where something is bought it can thought to be removed and changed out with something completely different within a few years. We look at things we want to last for many, many years.
Very extensive and lengthy regulatory process. If you haven't had the joys of being part of a rate filing, I welcome anybody to join me on that. It's great to get the experience. And everything that we provide to the regulator is really based on data, the experience, the performance, and the cost that we gather. So you can see that as LEDs have just come about really over the past five years in great strength, we've got pilot projects and so on, one of the aspects of this consortium is really to gather that information and use it to our benefit, even if we're not the ones that have the pilots up and running or we don't have expansive projects.
Again, I spoke about product variability. Everything from operating performance, quality cost. It's difficult to create a rate when you don't have any longevity experience, in that you don't know how long the actual life is or what kind of components you're going to have to buy over time. So again, I speak to the lack of industry standardization. A LED array from one manufacturer more than likely will not fit with another manufacturer's product.
Of course, inconsistent energy rate development. The issue here is that we have a current – and it's a longstanding way of coming up with our fixed rates for our lighting assets. Everything is very standardized. All of the consumption values of HID products is well known. We have you know, standard wattages, nominal wattages that we use. You apply that to a burning hour curve you end up your energy consumption. The difference here is that we're looking at a whole new world in the way I see it.
First of all, you have LEDs, you have legislation where they're talking about dimming. Then you end up with various operating times. People want to turn the lights off at different times, not just dusk til dawn. And then finally there's all kinds of opportunities with maintaining your light output, your illumination output, by doing things like overdriving those lights to maintain a consistent illumination level.
My personal view on this is that I really think that the adaptive controls or smart controls, whatever you want to call it, really is a strong potential moving forward, if they really can manage to measure the energy consumption, what I'm hoping is that that will move us much further forward than the burning hour curve that doesn't take into account outages and day burners and things like that. We'll get very good readings, hopefully with this information, and be able to charge the customer against exactly what they're looking to use.
So finally on the utility perspective is working on pilot projects. We really do want to participate in pilots through a collaboration with municipal customers, or our primary customer, and other interested constituencies. And this really is to take a look around and bring about more of an alliance or partnership with higher education, universities, colleges where they have the opportunity to actually play a role in this. And also with the vendors who have products that they want to have tested and so on. So the idea here is to really adopt more of a partnership approach.
As this develops information and data, I do see it as a paradigm shift. That we should probably be looking at a different type of rate structure model than we currently do. I think that everything that's so variable today doesn't go along with the fixed approach that we've had in the past.
Alright, now I'd like to kind of shift gears a little bit and start talking about what we see as the application of a pilot. And as this usually works out, customers tend to give us a call and they want to bring about a pilot project. In most cases, and mostly of late, you'll see that the genesis of that is through the financial resources. Be it the Federal stimulus funds that have been released, various types of energy efficiency programs. That's where they're really driving the customer to come and visit with their utility.
The versus aspect of this is that I'm more concerned about the project objectives. It's great that they have some money, but it's greater than that. Everybody needs to know something about what the lighting design's going to be, what the cost savings potentially are going to be, what the environmental issues are going to be. And those are items that I very rarely hear from our customer base that they want to achieve. They're just coming in because they want to buy some lights.
The next thing then is the objectives. And you really need to sit down and talk to the customers about this. Again, as I said before, the financial application – whether the realistic goals in that application that in effect got them the money, the stimulus funds, or are they really just writing about some marketing rhetoric that they've heard? Some of these aspects have been that we're going to save 80% on our electric bill. I'm getting a few thousand dollars and I can buy 100 luminaires, and it's going to be a great project and everything's going to be great. What we're finding out is that the consumer, the municipal customer here, really doesn't understand what goes in behind both what could be associated as a pilot, but actually they don't know much about lighting in general.
So you really have to figure out if they're really struggling with just the energy savings, or if there's a bigger plan in place for them. And what we say to that is that it becomes sort of our role to come in and try to do some customer education. We've got to make sure that they're knowledgeable and aware of everything else that needs to be addressed. So there's, you know, how much lighting knowledge do they have? Their project scope, and the diversity in cost.
Again, this could be everything from a single site, multiple sites. You're going to have it in the summer or the winter. You're going to do a rural, a suburban, or a metro commercial area. You know, what is it that you're really trying to do and what are you trying to do with that lighting?
Then you have to really get down to the brass tacks and find out well, what's the ownership and maintenance responsibilities? Who's going to take care of what as that project moves forward? And usually one of the first things that the customer says is oh, by the way, come out and take down your lights, we're going to put up our lights, and you find out that if you're dealing with utility infrastructure, number one, you can't do that – it's company property. The next thing is whether or not the utility has a filing, a rate schedule that complies with the LEDs that you're looking to put in place. So if they don't have one, now you get into kind of a do loop where you actually are working towards a special agreement.
The last thing on this slide is really the schedule. The idea that funding usually has a deadline when those funds have to be completed or used, and what it is that they get used on versus what I consider to be more of a realistic implementation plan. It has to be from start to finish. Of course, there's always targets and deadlines, and funding might be one of them, but it has to be much more broader than just the deadlines to spend the money.
So what's the foundation of moving forward on a pilot? Again, first of all, that customer education. We try to spend some time with our customers and talk about outdoor lighting technologies. What HID technology is that they presently have. What does the LED, what is it going to do for them? Illumination basics. Measurements. Costs. Other types of performance that they should be expecting. We'll get into usually the utility tariff options. And again, if the utility doesn't have anything specific that can clearly provide a rate towards an LED, at that point you're moving into kind of unchartered ground, and you have to come up with basically a special agreement.
And what we mean by that is it's all the unique conditions that the project will bring forward, and it may or may not require regulatory approval, which also can be viewed as a huge roadblock. The timing on that is also an issue. The regulators are slower than your favorite utility.
The objectives. A clear definition of what those objectives would be, understanding of the realistic goals, and clearly defining those. And then the project concept evaluation. Again, this is where you want to have it at a very high level. You want to really define the site selection, the quantity, the types, various aspects of the term, the cost, other responsibilities. How you're going to charge for the energy consumed, so on and so forth.
So after discussing all of that and coming up with an outline, the next step really is to form a memorandum of understanding. Within this MOU, you clearly want to state that it's a high level framework so that everybody can work towards the same common mission. There's mutual intent to achieve those objectives that you've outlined. It clearly defines whose tasks, roles and responsibilities of all the various parties taking place. And again, just to identify the guidelines of those objectives as it's moving forward.
Hopefully as a helpful hint when you look back on this, I've put down a bunch of bullet items that can be used within the MOU, and they could be kind of topic headings if you want. First of all, a clear definition of the project intent, the scope, and the clear objectives. Nobody that's a major principal in this project should have any question as to what all parties want to achieve out of it.
Everybody's going to have their own individual objectives, but they all have to come in alignment with the total project and everybody has to have those objectives.
To find the funding sources, compliance criteria and schedule. You have to be careful. Many customers have just a few related items that they want to purchase from a given vendor, or other things. So with that, you know, there has to be that criteria.
Identification and functional description of all the active parties. Who's responsible for what. The relationship agreement. Is this going to be a partnership or an alliance? What is the value that each party takes from this? Identification, description of the geographic and demographic locations. What light locations are going to be changed out? What are the existing information or equipment that's out there, and what is the proposed equipment? Roles, responsibilities of all the parties with regard to what are we doing with the existing plan? Who's going to install, remove, maintain, operate, monitor, build? The metering plan. If you're going to use metering or any types of control applications, and the other measurement schemes you've got.
This goes on even to taking pictures as Todd mentioned. Same settings on the camera from the same location so that when you do comparative stuff, you're representing your products in an equal way.
The project term. How long is it going to last? And the post-pilot conditions. What's going to happen after the pilot's over? The rights, ownership of the pilot information. This is critical. Everybody that's putting into this has to have availability and critique qualities to making sure that they're represented fairly.
Eventually if it's done right, everybody's going to want to publish this, and the idea of having your logos, branding and other things on that publication. All of that has to be discussed upfront before you enter into this. And of course, finally there's liability indemnification issues because you are changing the lighting that's actually taking place out in the field.
So moving along. Now you finally get into a plan. The pilot scope is clearly identified, and you go through all the various components and infrastructure, the engineering, and you have to figure out who's paying for what. Again, these bullet points have to be much clearer in the scope document than they were in the MOU. So your project description, goals, objectives, responsible parties, location. Existing conditions, proposed conditions. Material criteria. Specifications, validation, warranty. Manufacturers and vendor requirements, procurements. Stocking and staging.
And finally you get towards an implementation plan. And this is where the rubber really meets the road. Everybody knows what they have to do, and who's going to do it. How they going to fund it. You start to do the installation, and for that term of period of that pilot project you have the operations and the maintenance that go on. Then eventually if there is, there's removal and restoration of the site.
But all through this project we have measurement and testing plans. We're going to be doing photo metrics. As Todd did, ask an awful lot of questions about the cognitive aspects, the human elements. How do the people feel that the lighting really brought value to the project? Were LEDs better or worse?
The energy consumption. Again, the biggest issue for the utility is really do we do metering, do we use adaptive controls? Is it going to be an unmetered setup or a fully metered setup? And I'm speaking more of in the future. And lastly then the testing schedule. Always establish a clear and defined baseline. Initial, the progression of events, and the final. So then there's a compilation of all the results, the documentation, and then the communication plan.
So with that, the only thing I can add to the plan implementation is that you really need some committed and dedicated resources to make this all happen. If you just have somebody do it for a day or two, it'll lose focus and the lights just are out there and no one's following up on your plan. So therefore in conclusion, that what is the pilot? Well, the pilot must be a collaboration of knowledgeable parties – that goes to the first point – equally supporting the project and having the appropriate commitment to achieve these established goals. Again, I can't reiterate enough that the goals have to be the same for all the parties going in.
As they enter in, they're all going to want one thing, or two things, but not to forget that they have a common goal that encompasses all of those.
So finally I just want to comment on the consortium participation. Involvement in this is really, with regard to the strategic development of the changing industry, like I said, I truly believe that this is something that's going to be here for quite a long time. We're going to be changing from HID to solid-state lighting technologies. We need to share and learn from the successes and experiences of others, so we don't have to duplicate those and learn that over. And being able to influence a legislative and regulatory processes and policies that we see going forward.
With regard to LED adoption, again continued investigation and research from these pilot projects, and picking and choosing the right pilot projects. You can't be everything to everybody, so a little bit of research needs to go into that.
Finally, the implementation issues. You know, the variable energy consumption probably my biggest item that I'm trying to wrestle to the ground. With all of the different functional tasks that we're looking to perform, and keeping the skies dark and everything else, it's a variable model, not a fixed model. I would like to see some stronger industry standardization, and finally just the stabilization in the technology and in the cost, because that'll really help in our rate design.
So with that, thank you very much.
Edward Smalley: Well, next up we have Amy Olay from the city of San Jose. Amy is a senior civil engineer with the city of San Jose's Department of Transportation, and has been with the city of San Jose for more than twenty years, leading the delivery of multiple transportation improvement projects. She graduated and received her Masters in transportation machinery from San Jose State University. She currently leads the signals and streetlights section and is responsible for engineering and operations of traffic signal facilities as well as the development and implementation of San Jose's streetlight conversion program. So Amy will be addressing us on San Jose's program. Welcome, Amy.
Amy Olay: Thank you, Ed, and thank you for inviting me here to speak about the city of San Jose, and for us to share the story of how we're leading the effort in converting our lights equipped with controls.
In my presentation, I'll cover a brief background of our program, follow with the strategy, some conversion efforts, some of the challenges that we've encountered, and the participation in DOE's municipal consortium, and then wrap up with the next steps with the city of San Jose's program.
Just a snapshot of the city of San Jose. The city has a population of greater than one million. It's the tenth largest city in the U.S. The third largest in California next to Los Angeles and San Diego.
As the capital of Silicon Valley, we are the home to numerous high tech employers. And I also show here that we have a very large streetlight inventorying. About 62,000 that the city operates and maintains.
Over the years San Jose has demonstrated leadership in the lights that we've selected to put on our streets. In the ‘80s we converted from incandescent and mercury vapor to the more energy efficient low pressure sodium. In 2008 we revised our streetlight policy. We went from a prescriptive policy to a more performance-based. In the old policy, it standardized low pressure sodium, and the new policy is more energy efficiency driven. It asks for dimmable lights. Lights that can be programmed. And also hazardous waste reduction is very important.
So following the policy, San Jose demonstrated a few lights and we call them smart LED lamps. When we say smart, we mean it's not just a light, but it also has the smart component, being able to be programmed, communicate and dim.
In 2009 we piloted our very first project where we converted about 120 lights in a residential neighborhood in the city that had lower wattage lights. And later that year we also converted about 150 lights in an industrial area, so these are the higher wattage lights. Both of these projects we asked specifically to have controls with the ability to dim.
Just earlier this year we had a streetlight demonstration project where the purpose of it is we wanted to solicit the public's view of white light. So we wanted to gain additional knowledge as we proceed with our conversion projects. With this demonstration we actually installed six different test sites, so six different types of lights, five of which are LEDs with varying color temperature, and one induction.
In this project we conducted a subjective test as well as an objective test. The subjective portion really dealt with the surveys that we gave out to the residents, and the objective was a small target detection test. We see ourselves continuing to influence the LED light industry and controls as we progress with our other projects.
Really reducing operation and maintenance costs highlights the reason why we need to look for a different technology outside of low pressure sodium and high pressure sodium. We replace or repair about 13,000 lights a year. And three-year cumulative general fund deficit has been greater than $100 million. We spend about $4 million on energy just to power our lights. And so in 2008, we actually resorted to shutting off about 900 streetlights.
Another driving factor is we want to improve the quality of the lights that we put on our streets. With low pressure sodium, as you know, it's very yellow. It's monochromatic. So we're looking for better color rendition, and the white light source does that.
We also want to look for lights that are directional. That we can put them where we want them. Not to light people's front porches or have lights go into people's bedrooms, but rather lights to light up the sidewalks and roadways.
And San Jose Green Vision is also another one of our driving factors. In 2007 San Jose adopted a fifteen-year plan to promote sustainable practices. And in this vision, it includes ten different goals, one of which is street lighting. And the goal there is that by 2022 we would reduce San Jose's carbon footprint by half.
Having an observatory in our backyard, it's important for us to work with them to ensure that we minimize any impact for astronomical research.
As we look to convert our lights and implement a new technology, we have a general strategy that we're looking at. So in terms of technology, we're looking at solid state, something that we see that's still emerging that has the potential to get even better. And that would help with our dimming. And as we develop design guidelines we're also considering a white light factor so that perhaps we then can reduce the amount of wattage of the lights that we select. And with dimming, metering then is very important so that we can reap the rewards of using less light at certain times of the evening.
With our conversion plan, the strategy is that you know, with very limited funding we need to get the most bang for the buck. So what we are doing in San Jose is looking at the roadways and what sort of wattage lights they are currently, and where they're using the most energy. So pick those areas first as funding becomes available. And it's also important for us to, when we do get those projects, to not concentrate them in one area of the city, but rather spread it out so that our residents and the general public gets the benefits of this technology.
So the challenges we see with this is obviously, as I mentioned, the observatory concerns, and we're working very closely with them. Their concern is with the blue light that's emitted, or the blue wavelength with the white lights. And funding. We wish we had more funding, but we just don't. But we've been pretty successful at getting some grants. Most significant is the $2 million that we've gotten from Federal stimulus money. And the next challenge is really with the regulations. Once we go into metering, is the tariff issue.
So LED is really appealing to us because it's energy efficient, it's long-lasting, it's directional, it has great uniformity, and there's no hazardous waste. Some of the challenges that we see with LED is that the standard is still evolving. It's still an emerging technology. We see it changing very rapidly. The ROI is still long. It's still greater than five years. The quality of the LEDs are varying, depending on who's manufacturing, where they come from. Warranty is something that we're also carefully looking at because there's the warranty with the luminaires, and with the controls. Longevity is also another question. Longevity with the driver, with the LED chip. And pricing, of course. It's still somewhat high. We do see it coming down. And with implementing a control system, we're talking about two different pricings, also.
So in order to dim our lights, we're looking at a network control system. One that's programmable and remotely controlled. In our first pilot project we tested out a power line communication system. In our second project we went with wireless. And we in San Jose will be proceeding with wireless communication throughout with our upcoming projects.
A web-based access is important so that when we want to access the portal from our office, we can do that, or for a maintenance crew if they're onsite, we want to have that capability as well. And then GPS positioning so that each light has its own ID. A monitoring and reporting application.
The challenge with the network control system is that we want to find a system with minimal ongoing fees, whether it be subscription fees or what-have-you. It doesn't really make sense that we're getting savings from energy efficiency but then we put that cost into you know, some additional fees. We want to then thus maximize our use of our existing communication infrastructure.
So we want to dim through network control, and dimming based on activity level, based on pedestrian activity level, based on vehicular activity level. The benefits of dimming is great to us. First of all, it allows us to reduce energy use beyond just converting our lights to LED, and it reduces glare and minimizes light pollution. The last two items are great, especially as we work with our observatory.
So metering is the next step once we get our lights to dim and select where to dim. The benefits there is we get credit then for the actual energy consumed. The current challenges that we see with metering is the acceptable level of accuracy. Currently the streetlights are unmetered. They could be day burners or ones that aren't even working. We pay on a flat rate regardless. So we don't really have any data to show.
And for residential and commercial, the standard is pretty high right now. For the streetlights to meet the residential and commercial standards becomes cost prohibitive for the manufacturer and also for the consumer to purchase. So somehow we have to find that happy medium where there's a cost effective nature to this, where the manufacturers can produce this, the consumers can afford to buy them, but then also meet the utility and PUCs so that they will feel comfortable with the level of accuracy.
Some of the future challenges that we see as both in the regulatory and the administrative side is that we need to continue to work with the utilities to change the tariff to reflect individualized meters. And also the security for the transmission of data. Meter ownership. That's a question. Should it continue to be owned by the utilities, or should it be then transferred over to the municipalities? Especially in San Jose where we own all our streetlights. And then the level and frequency of reports and data.
So we see the formation of the consortium to be a great thing. Participation by all will help advance the LED lighting and network controls industry, and San Jose is participating in the remote monitoring and controls workgroup. And we see the consortium to be an information repository. It's a forum for us to share information, tested and tried best practices so we can share information on performance, on standards, and even on how companies perform. On how well they communicate back to the cities that purchase their lights.
And we want to, through this, develop consistency in standards. To make all our jobs I think a lot easier when we start implementing our projects.
So what's next for the city? We have some committee meetings that we've scheduled to share the outcome of the streetlight demonstration projects and, in fact, there's a meeting happening tomorrow night in San Jose.
Later this fall we will be bringing the streetlight master plan to our city for approval, and in this master plan it will include an adaptive lighting design guide. We'll continue to work with PG&E and CPUC to allow local agencies to allow metering of the streetlights. And we will then implement funded projects for those that we've gotten grants for. As I mentioned before, we've received $2 million from Federal stimulus money, so within the next two years we see us converting over 2,000 lights.
We need to continue to seek grant funding so that within the near future we can hopefully convert most of our streetlights, and with that we need to also explore various financing options. And that wraps up my portion of the presentation. Thank you.
Edward Smalley: Thank you very much, Amy. So as you can see, three very different cities all with the same goals and challenges. It was interesting to hear the perspective of the utility and how, especially with John's organization, they plan on working with the different customers that they have. So it's time for questions and answers, and what we're going to do is if we have some questions on the web, someone will be able to tell us what those are, but if we can start in the room here, we'll – here's a question over here.
Audience: Am I on? There we go. Todd, I was wondering if you could address the difference between a new and a retrofit application in your projects, and why the payback was nearly three times on that.
Tod Rosinbum: Sure. What I consider to be a new project is a brand new street lighting project. A retrofit is you go out there, you take down the old light, you put the new light up. And what we found is that the additional maintenance cost for the retrofit, going out there and taking that old light down, and rather than just installing a brand new light costs an extra, you know, $200 per light, somewhere around that vicinity. And so that's what caused the cost. Plus our energy costs are relatively low in the Pacific northwest, and so it takes quite a while to regain, recoup that initial maintenance cost.
Edward Smalley: Another question over here.
Audience: Hi. The lighting research center in Rensselaer, New York runs a program called the National Lighting Product Information Program, NLPIP. They're going to be coming out with a study later I think this fall that describes for roadways that are being required to meet certain RP8 lighting distribution and the like for one particular type called a collector roadway that pole spacing was a huge issue for comparison of conventional technologies to LED technologies. And that for the distribution to be met from the conventional technologies, LED poles had to be spaced fifty feet apart, and the conventional lights had to be placed 150 feet apart.
So my question was to Todd whether your city is imposing meeting the RP8 recommendations for light for the different types of roadways, and if you've seen any information or problems in meeting the distribution requirements.
Tod Rosinbum: Number one, we have by ordinance lighting standards per street classification. Those are not identical to RP8, number one. Those were instituted by in the 1980s and we've just stayed with that. They're not that different. They're similar, but they're not exact.
The IES, when we've done our lighting analysis, the uniformity – like I just showed in that one slide back on Williamette Bluff, the uniformity there, those pole spacings were probably 120 feet, 115-120 feet, and our uniformity was excellent. So I'm not sure where the fifty-foot pole spacing came from.
Audience: Like I said, for a particular roadway type.
Edward Smalley: For a particular roadway? Yeah, and I think, too, it highlights one of the interesting challenges as we all start to make these evaluations. We have to look at the particular application. For instance, in Seattle our pole spacing 150 feet apart. Our light level requirements are much higher than RP8, and yet we're meeting those with a two-to-one uniformity. So I think it highlights that. We really must look at the particular fixture, and the particular application to see where we land. And that's a really good point.
I think we've got a question from our online friends. Todd – I'm sorry. Bruce, would you like to?
Bruce Kinzey: Yeah, actually this is a question for Todd. This is an easy one. Would Todd be willing to share the minimum lighting standards for residential lighting?
Tod Rosinbum: We don't have a uniformity standard for residential streets. We do have a minimum for average, horizontal luminance of 0.3 footcandles.
Edward Smalley: Another question?
Audience: Yes, we are a small private company specializing in driver and ballasts. One question for Amy is that we have one product. Cost the public about $50. But it can reduce. It's a product dimmable, programmable, automated dimming ballast for the high pressure sodium. It can reduce the utility cost, the energy cost by 50%. But the next chance for you to consider this product in the process of moving toward LED technology. In other words, this product, the payback is about one year, or two years. But it will reduce the energy by 50% automatically. No control. We believe no control is better than control, because it's automatic. There's no human control over this product needed, so I would like to ask your opinion as to what you think of this solution.
Amy Olay: At this point we're really focusing our conversion efforts to look at a different technology. We do have some high pressure sodiums in the city, but predominantly they're low pressure sodium because that's standardized in our policy. So I think we need to really look at the cost benefit if we are to consider putting this special unit onto our high pressure sodium lights and try to dim those, or should we spend that capital in trying to invest it in our conversion efforts.
Edward Smalley: And I think the really impressing point when you look at the nation as a whole and the HID technology, many of our systems are at end of life and have been for sometime. Many of our systems are at twenty, twenty-five years old with the HID technology. So I think that's an interesting point as we look at a system like Amy's, and looking at entire system conversion. Another question?
Audience: Correct me if I'm wrong, but when Mr. Rosinbum, when you compared the Williamette Bluff projects, it appeared to me that based on the data that was sitting there, and not the fact that we're sitting here and I work for a manufacturer of components for solid-state lighting, that induction won hands down. And I'd be curious to know – I mean, that's what the data seemed to say to me. Then why isn't induction lighting then basically winning hands down in most of these demonstration projects?
Tod Rosinbum: The induction lighting won – I mean, won – I would say that in that particular situation, the neighborhood preferred the induction lighting because they liked the color temperature, and they liked the lower footcandle rating. That's a residential street. I don't think that induction lighting has the capability – personally, I don't think it has the capability to light arterial streets. The distribution of lighting is more of, I would call like a blob of light as opposed to a uniform distribution of light. So does that help answer your question?
Audience: But it seemed like the technical data supported induction lighting as well. I just think the preference of fixture aesthetics ––
Edward Smalley: You thought the numbers supported the induction?
Audience: It's unfortunate you can't put that back up there, but when I looked at it I thought well, had I just walked in here and I ––
Edward Smalley: You might want to hand him the mike there. Okay.
Audience: I don't know if you can put that back up there, but it appeared to me that it pretty much won across the board.
Tod Rosinbum: It didn't win. It didn't have uniformity of the other lighting. There's a number of considerations in those graphics.
Amy Olay: And that's something that I want to add, too. In the demonstration project that we had, we did test one induction light source, and compared it to the LEDs. You definitely see a difference in the uniformity. You actually saw light spots, dark spots. Very evident. So our residents that went out and took the survey, you know, really preferred the LED for uniformity.
Edward Smalley: Question?
Audience: Bob Parks, International Dark Sky Association. This is for Amy. Have you had difficultly working with the utilities in this process because in the end, we're actually working for energy reduction, and that's got to hit the bottom line. So is it a difficult transition? John can weigh in on this, because going forward, I think they need to find new sources for energy because if we go forward with this it sounds like we've won, it's going to reduce revenues. One of the things that came up in one of our meetings is hopefully electric cars and recharging and things like that will come at the same time to help the utilities transition so that they're not getting a huge drop in energy.
John Walter: So basically any resistance from the local utility.
Audience: With the utilities because of this perception – or this reality that you're trying to reduce energy.
Amy Olay: I think it's really trying to get their buy-in, and as I mentioned, it's really the level of accuracy of measuring the energy consumption. So we can get to a point where the percentages works out that they're comfortable with, I think that would be – you know, that would be great. Right now we're working very closely with PG&E. In fact, they're testing a couple of the control systems, and then our lights just so that they can understand what sort of reporting they can get from it and test it for the accuracy level. So I think you know, it's been challenging, but they are open to the idea.
Edward Smalley: Bruce?
Bruce Kinzey: Our utility company charges for power using a facility charge per street light, plus a kilowatt hour charge. When we convert to an LED light using 50% less power, we receive only about a 25% reduction in energy savings. Is this facility charge common in the industry? Has anyone been successful in getting the utility companies to change the way in which power is charged to better encourage use of energy efficient products?
Edward Smalley: John, would you like to fill that?
John Walter: I'll give that a shot. Actually I'll try to address the question before also with the same answer. It is that in general the utilities clearly recognize that there's a disjoint, as was stated with the first question by Mr. Parks, the idea that we generate revenue based off of kilowatt hours sold, yet we also are in the market of energy efficiency programs or at least trying to move customers to energy efficiency projects and save energy.
Specifically for the second question and street lighting having a separation between facility charges and your commodities/delivery charges. Right now that is the current model. The situation is that within distribution you bundle all the infrastructure up because it's what transmits and brings that kilowatt hour charge or kilowatt hour energy to the premise, the house, the commercial establishment, whatever. Lighting is a little bit different. It's an end consumable product that's selected by a single customer. Most of the time that being a municipality.
So the utilities have always – most of them I should say have always structured kind of a facility charge based on the capitalization aspect of that equipment they're buying, and then of course, there's the energy consumption piece which is measured by KWH. And again, the existing model is the burning hour type curve versus some other method short of metering.
So it's a conundrum that the utilities currently face. And I can speak to my company. We've gone in for a rate case with upstate New York Niagara Mohawk. We've propositioned kind of a revenue cap perspective so that we can still achieve the savings elements and still be provided a level of revenue so that we can continue to invest in our infrastructure.
Edward Smalley: Do we have another one there, Bruce? Bruce Kinzey: Actually this one is for you, Ed. How do we gain access membership to the remote monitoring workgroup? Also how many cities have already implemented projects utilizing controls and/or remote monitoring? Edward Smalley: We'll take the last one first, and the first one last. How's that? So how many cities have implemented? I think a lot of cities are not quite – I don't believe any cities are in implementation stage at this point. I think a lot of people are evaluating this option. Again, just as they are evaluating the LEDs themselves. I could be wrong, but I'm not aware of one at this time.
As far as participation, we're trying to do these on regional levels, but this particular group has a particular focus, and so why don't you let me know if you're interested, and we'll see if we can connect you with the workgroup.
Amy Olay: I can answer that in that San Jose is implementing LED streetlights along with controls.
Edward Smalley: Okay, so you're past the evaluation stage and you're moving into implementation?
Amy Olay: We are just evaluating which controls to use, but moving forward. We're not just implementing LED streetlights. We are looking for a complete smart system.
Edward Smalley: Made the decision. Good point. Thank you very much. We've got a question over here.
Bruce Kinzey: This question is for Amy. You had mentioned in your network control evaluation that you'd taken a look at power line carrier versus wireless controls, and going forward you'd be looking at wireless controls. Can you elaborate a little bit about that evaluation?
Amy Olay: I think with the way that our streetlights are wired, it just makes more sense for us to do wireless. With our very first project we've found some challenges with the wireless control – I mean with the power line. Excuse me. The utility poles are in people's backyards, and that created complications. If we do that throughout the city, then how do we do that? Do we get encroachment through our PG&E? Or you know, do we have to then get access to each one of the poles?
So really from an infrastructure and cost effective and from ease of implementation, we're going with wireless. And we really want to utilize our communication system as well, and right now currently in the city we are upgrading our signal communication. We have a $20 million grant that we're upgrading our fiber optics, and we want to be able to see if we can tie that in, so that then we can get everything feedback to signal control system so that we can control it in one hub location.
Edward Smalley: Okay. I thought we had a question over here. I'm sorry. Bruce? And then we have one more up front here.
Bruce Kinzey: Sure. Okay, this question goes to Todd or Amy. How does one quantify the maintenance-related cost savings?
Edward Smalley: So we've saved energy. Now what are we doing about the operational savings?
Amy Olay: I think by converting to LEDs, because they're longer lasting, we definitely would save on the maintenance. It really minimizes the number of trips that our, you know, maintenance crew has to go out and change the bulbs. So we see that as a huge benefit. I can't recall right now the exact dollar amount that we would save on an annual basis on maintenance, but that's part of the calculation that we're doing for our consideration.
Tod Rosinbum: We currently have a group re-lamping program every five years – of every five years. And so if for example, and who really knows whether – how long these LEDs will last, number one. But assuming that they do last 50,000 hours or more, that cost for group re-lamping is going to be a whole lot – will be less we'll be out. The other side of it is the additional cost for the – the higher cost of the new fixture, is the other side of the equation.
Edward Smalley: Okay. Right over here.
Audience: This question is for Amy, but it could be easily answered by other panelists or the Chair. At least one of you have – at least you've talked about control strategies – dimming and other things. What exactly are you doing in terms of controls? Are you turning the lights down at a certain hour? Are you turning certain lights on minor streets off? Not every street – I mean, not every light perhaps. What's the strategy?
Amy Olay: For our dimming strategy, we are looking at the IESNA standard, or the CIE, and so we're actually currently evaluating both of those to see what's most applicable for our city. And the dimming, we're looking at the volume of pedestrians, the volume of traffic that travels through those streets, the usage. And where does it make sense for us to dim? What time? And with the dimming feature, what's really great is that let's say there's an event near the arena. When there's no event, you know, we can dim it really low, but if there's an event we can always ramp up the lights. So that's the flexibility. That's the type of control that we want for our city.
Edward Smalley: So basically you're looking at warrants. I mean, your IES guidelines for particular roadways of travel, and you're looking at volumes, et cetera?
Amy Olay: Um-hmm.
Edward Smalley: Okay, and seeing settings for events, et cetera.
Tod Rosinbum: What are you doing?
Edward Smalley: What are we doing? We're just beginning that evaluation ourselves in Seattle, and working obviously – as a utility, we work directly with the transportation engineers and their staff, and also those will be part of the considerations. Because you know, obviously the football game lets out at 10:00 P.M. you don't want to be dimmed down. Perhaps you won't even go to 150% and dim up, and you've got thousands of people walking the roadway, and you've got traffic enforcement, et cetera, out there trying to do a job. So there's a good opportunity for ramping that up.
But the rest of the week, there's basically less traffic in that area than there would be during the rush hour on another roadway. So those are exactly the types of considerations we want to be cognizant of.
Do we have one more on the line there, Bruce? Okay, then we'll go to the front here. We've got about a couple more minutes.
Bruce Kinzey: Okay, here's probably a good one that any of the panelists could respond to, at least from their own perspective. With the fast changing nature of LED technology and the moving target of payback times, does this encourage cities to delay LED rollouts, since waiting perhaps five years will see more stabilization in the technology, and quicker paybacks?
Edward Smalley: That's a very good question. Payback.
Tod Rosinbum: I think it does. I think back in 2008 when we saw the paybacks, we said you know what? We're just going to wait around. We'll continue to do demonstration projects, we'll continue to learn more about LED streetlights. Educating ourselves. But we weren't prepared at that time. Obviously we had to find the funding. The challenges for funding are huge. So I'd say it does in some respects. Some municipalities are able to go ahead, you know, right away, but as far as Portland is concerned, we're still – we're taking it slow.
Edward Smalley: I'll delay my answer. We'll get another question over here, but that's extremely a good question there. Go ahead, I'm sorry.
Audience: Bob Parks again. IDA. This is for Todd and Amy. While you're considering using lower lumination levels, have you had a back-and-forth with your legal and safety folks about, you know, the potential litigation and implication of this? And what came back?
Tod Rosinbum: We have not talked to our legal folks about the liabilities for the lower lighting. Frankly, we're not quite sure how we're going to handle the dimming. The dimming that I see right now is maybe we might dim them initially down to the – you know, as we do design work, I think we design probably for depreciation of about 30%. So we could dim down initially at that 70% level, and have those energy savings initially, and then ramp up as time goes on, and the lumen depreciation drops.
Edward Smalley: Utilizing dimming as a means of lumens maintenance?
Tod Rosinbum: Right. As far as going against the IES standards, as far as roadway lighting, that's a touchy subject, and I don't think ––
Audience: Yeah. That's what I wanted your input on, because we get that question a lot.
Tod Rosinbum: Yeah.
Edward Smalley: I don't think he wants to touch that.
Audience: Yeah. What about Amy?
Amy Olay: We have had conversations with our legal, and public safety as well. With public safety, they sit on our taskforce as we develop our master plan. So they are involved, and we do get their feedback. I think in terms of dimming, they really like the white light, so the technology I think it's great. You know, for color rendition. They recognize that it's important for us to look at a different technology for energy savings, but at the same time for crime prevention, they've asked that maybe before we consider dimming certain neighborhoods that they have deemed as high crime, that we consult with them. That, you know, before we do anything let them know which areas we're interested in dimming, and they would definitely work with us on that.
Audience: Are you planning to keep good data and statistics in those situations so that you can look back and see if there were any safety implications?
Edward Smalley: Before you get into that question, I'm going to just so we have some folks online here following via video, that is really all the time we have this afternoon, and I wanted to give us an opportunity to wrap that up. The panelists will be here afterwards. I know that John had to leave, but if you have some additional questions, it's been a very good participation. We truly appreciate that, and I just wanted to thank everybody for coming.
Amy Olay: Thank you panelists.