Experts shed light on LED upgrade
Experts told Darien leaders that converting the town to LED fixtures would result in longer lasting and more durable street lights with more energy efficiencies, with the potential to upgrade the system with cameras or provide Wi-Fi capability.
The potential uses of the system are expansive, Jack Hanley, director of program development of ESCO Energy Services, told the Board of Selectmen during a presentation Monday night, giving the town the ability to adjust the intensity of light on specific streets. More advanced tweaking could equip the fixtures with sensor technology or displays that could to share Amber Alerts or other relevant announcements to passing foot or car traffic.
“There are so many peripheral benefits from embedding that technology,” Hanley said.
“You are effectively creating a mesh network,” Govi Rao, chief executive officer of Noveda Technologies said.
A preliminary projection provided by ESCO shows the town would save nearly $90,000 a year on reduced energy costs from switching to LED lights, which last longer and use much less energy.
In the proposal made by Hanley, the town could pay for the conversion costs over five or six years for $72,464 a year, but if the town chose to install controls to enable adjusting the lights, it could cost $65,183 over six years.
A next step would be for the town to enter a letter of intent with ESCO, which could then install sample LED lights and conduct public outreach to garner feedback from residents about the type of bulbs and fixtures to be used, Hanley said.
Other technological uses of the lights if controls are installed include capability to use sensors to detect people — such as Alzheimer patients — who wear tracking bracelets or microchipped dogs, or linking cars with services such as OnStar to police.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson asked if the system could be used to establish a distributed antenna system to boost cellular service over geographic areas. Town officials are in favor of such a system as opposed to cellular phone towers to improve coverage, Stevenson said.
Rao said it could be used that way.
The Board of Selectmen will discuss the proposal further at its next meeting on Aug. 24.