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City of Mill Valley to Install 600 New Energy-Efficient LED Streetlights
Posted Date: 6/10/2014 9:00 AM

Streetlight at E Blithedale and Camino AltoMill Valley Director of Public Works Jill Barnes announced today that the City will replace nearly 600 standard “cobra-head” street light fixtures with energy-efficient, light-emitting diodes (LED) over the next few months, reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs.

“This initiative will save the community hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years in energy savings and maintenance costs and move us closer to attaining our sustainability goals," Barnes said.

The Mill Valley City Council has identified a healthy natural environment with emphasis on climate protection and sustainability as one of its Core Values, and has identified the pursuit of environmental sustainability initiatives as one of its 2014-2015 Priority Projects. The LED replacements will help towards achieving these goals.

The LED replacement plan also ties into the recently adopted MV2040 General Plan, which directs City officials to enact practices and standards that support climate action policies and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This project is another step towards the City’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The City of Mill Valley has established greenhouse gas reduction targets of 15 percent below 2005 levels communitywide and 20 percent below 2005 levels for municipal activities by the year 2020.

In 2008, the City installed LEDs in street lights along key corridors as a pilot program. After 6 years of use, staff confirmed that the LED lamps are effective, energy efficient and low maintenance. This lighting upgrade will only be for the standard “cobra-head” style lights and not for the decorative lamps around town.

Compared to the current standard high-pressure sodium lights currently on streets, which last 3-4 years, these LEDs have a 10-year material warranty and are rated to produce a minimum 95% of initial intensity at 100,000 hours of life.

The nearly 600 new LED streetlights are expected to save approximately $7,000 in energy and $28,000 in maintenance costs a year for a total of $35,000 in longer-lasting, more efficient lighting. The new lights will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate the production of 168,000 pounds of CO2 per year, the equivalent to removing 14 cars off the road annually. Besides the cost savings and environmental benefits, the new lights will produce more light and will improve night-time visibility for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on our roads and intersections.

The project will be funded by an On Bill Financing (OBF) program offered by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E). The OBF program offers the City a zero interest loan to be paid off from the energy savings realized from the project. City officials estimate the cost savings realize realized from these projects will pay off the OFB loan in approximately 4 years

The City’s current vendor for traffic signal maintenance and repair, DC Electric Group, Inc. is a preferred vendor for this retrofit program. They have provided the City with an estimate to replace all fixtures with LEDs. The cost is $132,148 which would be fully covered by the OBF. PG&E is also offering an incentive rebate of $36,800. The City’s net cost and total loan amount, if approved, will be $95,348.

The streetlight project and loan rebate will go before the City Council at their June 16 regularly scheduled meeting.

Further questions or comments may be directed to the Department of Public Works.