Hayward Residents Join LED Streetlights Evaluation

The city of Hayward is under the process of replacing its old streetlights with LEDs, and city staff wants residents to weigh in on which style of fixture would be best.

Hayward will be replacing about 7,700 of its 8,200 streetlights starting later this year, switching from the current high-pressure sodium lighting.

Staff members narrowed the choices to three styles, and workers installed some of the three types along C Street in downtown, from Watkins Street to Foothill Boulevard. The poles are marked A, B and C, and city staff is asking residents to say which style they prefer and why.

Don Frascinella, transportation manager for the city disclosed that "We felt that since this was a very large scope project, and because there are so many different kinds of products, we wanted to get public feedback on their preferences."

The three types of LED, lights along C Street were chosen based on city staff's experience with different streetlights and by looking at what is being used in other cities. The three also are PG&E-approved.

According to Frascinella , feedback from residents "should be based on quality of light, amount of light, color, etc. We are trying to evaluate the light that is emitted from the fixture, not the fixture itself."

The new lights are being paid for with a $3 million loan from the California Energy Commission. Although the light from the LED fixtures looks better than before, "energy savings for us was the focus" of the replacements, he said.

The city spends $650,000 annually on street lighting energy.

"Some agencies that have switched over to LED have seen well over 60 percent savings," he said. Hayward staff members estimate the city will cut its energy consumption by about half, with the savings being used to pay off the $3 million loan.

The city is scheduled to pay off the loan in seven to 10 years, but it could be sooner if energy savings exceed 50 percent.

In addition, the city will save in maintenance costs, especially the first year, when the new lights are under warranty. The city spends about $200,000 a year for streetlight maintenance.

Because the lights meet PG&E criteria, they should qualify for a rebate, which could run as high as $500,000, Frascinella said.

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