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Babylon Town completes LED replacement for streetlights

The four-month switch-over to LED cost $3.2 million and is projected to save the town $1 million annually, officials said.

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer demonstrates the difference

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer demonstrates the difference between streetlights with warmer traditional bulbs, left, and cooler LED lights, right, in a Department of Public Works garage in Lindenhurst on Feb. 13 Photo Credit: Newsday/Rachel O'Brien

The Town of Babylon has replaced its 13,354 streetlights with efficient LED lights, one of the first towns on Long Island to do so.

The Town of Southampton completed its streetlight conversion to LED in November, and several other towns, including Hempstead and Brookhaven, have started projects.

The cooler light of the money-saving and energy-efficient LED is brighter than the warmer light of the traditional bulbs, a comparison Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer demonstrated in a town Department of Public Works garage Wednesday morning.

“We have gotten many compliments for this new streetlight,” he said. “It’s obviously four times more efficient in terms of the energy . . . it’s directed in the proper way, down to the street.”

Schaffer said the switch-over saves about $1 million annually by cutting streetlight energy bills in half and replacing the lights less frequently.

The old lights were changed on average every five years, but the new LEDs are good for 20 years, the supervisor said.

He said the savings will be put toward contracted expenses, such as employee salaries and pension and health care costs.

The four-month switch-over to LED cost $3.2 million, down from the original projection of $3.6 million, even after the town hired engineering firm Nelson & Pope to conduct a streetlight audit. They recommended which types of LED lights to use based on the conditions near the lamps.

That delayed the project, initially expected to be done by the end of 2017.

Town officials, including Tom Stay, the DPW commissioner, said once they realized how many LED products there were, they decided to do the study first to ensure they selected the correct lights, including ones that can withstand salt water blowing off the ocean.

Suffolk County Police Department First Precinct Inspector Kevin Kane said the brighter LEDs make people feel safer and deters crime.

When crimes do occur under the brighter lights “we feel it with further enhance our efforts to identify perpetrators,” he said.

Michael Voltz, director for energy efficiency and renewables for PSEG Long Island, said this helps New York State meet its goals of reducing energy consumption by converting 500,000 streetlights to LED by 2025, an initiative Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced during his State of the State address in February 2018.

“We’re fully supportive of LED street lighting,” Voltz said. “I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment that the Town of Babylon has been able to do in such a short time, and we encourage all towns, municipalities to convert over to LED street lighting, and also homes and businesses.”

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