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Power Smart rebates target streetlight glare, inefficiency

Top photo shows traditional semi-cutoff streetlight, while the bottom shows a flat lens full cutoff design BC Hydro Power Smart is promoting to help save energy and fight light pollution. (Image courtesy skyandtelescope.com)

Streetlights are essential for providing good night-time visibility for both drivers and pedestrians. They are proven to reduce traffic accidents and increase personal security. But streetlights can also contribute to light pollution and wasted energy.

That's why BC Hydro Power Smart has launched a campaign – featuring Product Incentive Program rebates on flat lens options [PDF, 87 Kb] – to target inefficient streetlighting in B.C. And for inspiration, they needed only to look across the Rockies to Calgary and the city's streetlight retrofit program.

City of Calgary saves $1.7M annually

Between 2002 and 2005, the City of Calgary retrofitted 37,000 streetlights with energy-efficient flat-lens fixtures – 100 watts on residential roads (down from 200 watts) and 150 watts on collector roads (down from 250 watts). The new fixtures are now saving the city about $1.7 million a year in electrical costs, and reducing its CO2 emissions by as much as 19,600 tonnes a year.

In addition, city residents have reported increased roadway visibility thanks to reduced glare, and they are happy that the streetlights no longer shine harsh light into their bedroom windows at night.

Why switch to flat lens streetlights?

Old-style "sag" or dropped lens streetlights shoot light out in all directions: not just downwards, onto the actual roadway. Light goes upwards, where it's not needed at all, obscuring beautiful night skies. It also shines outwards into houses and yards where it can annoy residents and keep them awake at night.

By wasting light, these fixtures also waste energy, and push a municipality's energy bills far higher than they could be.

By directing light only where you want it to go, flat lens streetlights provide just as much visibility on the roadway as dropped lens streetlights. Other advantages:

  • Saving energy and money. The fact that all the light is directed down means that you can illuminate the same area with fewer watts of energy – significantly reducing both the amount of energy required to power your streetlights and the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to them.
  • Durability. Because the flat lenses have fewer parts, they are also more durable and you will not have to change them as often as your old dropped lenses.
  • Increased safety. Flat lenses reduce glare, ensuring that drivers are not blinded by light shining directly into their eyes. They also provide more uniform light coverage than dropped lenses, helping to eliminate any shadowy or unsafe areas.
  • Better relations with residents. Flat lens streetlights save taxpayer dollars and cut down on light pollution, in the skies as well as in residential yards and houses. They will also help to demonstrate your municipality's commitment to a healthier environment.

BC Hydro's flat lens incentives

Flat lens streetlights do not cost much more than dropped lens streetlights. And with BC Hydro's incentives, they may actually cost less.

Through BC Hydro, if you replace an existing...

  • 150 watt high-pressure sodium streetlight with a 100 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $100;
  • 150 watt metal halide streetlight with a 100 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $80;
  • 175 watt mercury vapour streetlight with a 100 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $120;
  • 175 watt metal halide streetlight with a 150 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $20;
  • 200 watt high-pressure sodium streetlight with a 150 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $100;
  • 250 watt high-pressure sodium streetlight with a 150 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $150;
  • 250 watt mercury vapour streetlight with a 150 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $150;
  • 250 watt metal halide streetlight with a 150 watt energy-efficient high-pressure sodium streetlight with a flat lens, you will receive $130.

The above incentives include retrofit kits. All new energy-efficient luminaires must meet required IESNA and/or applicable federal, provincial or municipal codes.

Find out more about the program

To find out more about flat lens streetlights or how your municipality can take advantage of BC Hydro's incentives for replacing your inefficient dropped lens streetlights, please visit BC Hydro's Product Incentive Program pages or the Ornamental street lighting incentives brochure [PDF, 87 Kb] that includes product specifics. Or you can call 1 866 522 4713.

Source: BC Hydro News