LED fixtures will light Goodwin Avenue by 2009

By Crystal Kang

The University and the City of Urbana will team up with Sternberg Lighting Company in Roselle, Ill., on a $1.5 million project to replace Goodwin Avenue’s street lamps with LED lighting fixtures starting in May 2009.

Currently, the Urbana Public Works Department is designing the lighting fixtures and searching for manufacturers who can model the lamps to resemble those on Green Street, said Urbana Public Works Director Bill Gray.

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“The City of Urbana engineering staff would specify the fixtures, plan for the area, advertise the work, open bids, award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder and enter into the contract with the bidder,” Gray said. “Once the issue of notice to proceed is in place, the contractor would perform the work.”

The State administered a $900,000 Highway Safety Improvement Grant to renovate these city lamps.

The University and Urbana each will contribute $400,000 for the remaining expenditures going into this project, he added.

Sternberg Lighting Company’s Vice President Tim Scharnagle said the nation is turning to LED lighting as an alternative source of energy that is more cost-efficent than metal halide lighting, which is the type of lighting Urbana is using.

“LED lighting sources have been around since the 1960s,” Scharnagle said. “LED uses less than half the energy that the metal halide source requires.”

He said reducing the energy emitted by 50 percent will lower the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

The cost of the LED lighting ranges from $800 to $1,000, whereas metal halide lighting costs about $200.

However, the real savings come when weighing out the cost of maintenance and labor that is required to constantly replace the light source. Scharnagle said LED lighting lasts 50,000 hours in comparison to the current metal halide lighting, which lasts 12,000 hours.

Gloriana Woo, freshman in LAS, said these LED lightbulbs will be an investment for a twofold reason: They help the environment by reducing energy consumption, and they also save money that goes into the cost of maintenance.

She said the less replacement a lightbulb needs, the less costly the overall project will be.

The LED lighting is a highly recommended movement toward an environmentally-friendly future. All cities are looking into LED lighting, Scharnagle said.

Saori Kise, freshman in LAS, is a permanent resident of Roselle, Ill., and she believes LED lighting is benefitting her town.

“I think it’s a really good idea to adopt LED lighting in the campus area because it’s a way to lessen the effect that CO2 has on the environment,” Kise said.

“If other cities adopt LED lighting, we can save energy as a whole and reduce the greenhouse effect.”

Scharnagle said he has noticed that LED lighting has been used in a variety of ways in Roselle where Sternberg Lighting Company is headquartered.

“LED lighting is not just used to light steps in the movie theaters or as night lights to prevent you from stubbing your toe in the bathroom,” Scharnagle said.

“Now LED lighting is getting bright enough to use in fixtures with a higher mounting height. We can use them for landscaping, Christmas lights and for roadways.”