At street level, a programme to replace the lighting used to keep our community safe is seeing street lights changed from the current sodium yellow bulbs to white light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
The brightness of the lights should stay about the same at ground level, and the whiter light should provide better illumination of the road and footpath. Once the LED lights have been installed, Council will be surveying light output to identify any dark areas that do not meet lighting levels and to determine possible future upgrades.
More information on the LED conversion can be found in the FAQ below.
Q: What is an LED?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. It is a white light lamp that lasts much longer than traditional road lighting lamps.
Q: Why has the lighting been changed?
Converting our district’s 870 street lights to LEDs has significant benefits including:
- They use less power which is better for the environment and saves money.
- They last about 10 years they need less maintenance compared to our sodium lamps that last 3 years or so.
- They make things clearer. Human eyes are designed for “white” light and this type of light improves visibility, especially in wet weather.
- New technology will be easier to control and maintain.
- They will cost less than our existing lights over the course of their lives.
- They look nicer and have a smaller carbon footprint/environmental impact.
- They don’t contain mercury.
Central Government has helped Council fund these LED at a subsidy of 85%.
Q: What about sky glow and dark skies?
Our current lights direct a lot of light upwards, which contributes to an effect known as “sky glow”. Sky glow is ugly, wastes light, doesn’t help drivers and interferes with astronomical observation.
The current generation of LED equipment is more focused and reduces waste light almost to zero.
Q: How will Council manage the waste from this project?
Contractors will carry out the work in an environmentally responsible way, recycling where possible.
They have environmental management plans which explains how removed equipment will be recycled and where this option is not available, the method for disposal. The environmental management plan will also cover management of any items known or suspected to contain substances that are harmful to ecosystems.
The cost for this operation will be captured within the Contractors’ prices for the project.
Q: How much will it cost?
The overall cost of the project is $1.2M. Council’s share from rates is only $180k.
This covers supplying and installing 870 lights across the District and design fees for lighting at specific areas such as high volume roads, traffic signals, major intersections and pedestrian crossings.
Q: What monitoring will be undertaken?
Monitoring of the project will focus on safety, workmanship and service levels and will be done by the Contractor, Consultant and KDC staff.
Q: But my street is darker now! What will Council do about this?
The funding Council has been given is to swap out the existing mercury and sodium lights and replace them with LEDs, not to provide more lights.
Council will do an independent light level survey using an instrumented vehicle at the end of the conversion project.
This will measure the light intensity and provide graphs of the lighting for Council to review.
Any deficiencies the survey identifies will then be evaluated and considered for inclusion in a subsequent 3 year upgrade programme.