Friday, December 13, 2019

Cool kids on the block: Raymond shines brighter with new LED streetlamps

By Lorraine Glowczak

By the time The Windham Eagle newspaper hits mailboxes this Friday, the Town of Raymond will be the first municipality in the greater Windham/Gorham and Standish communities to be lit up by Light Emitting Diodes streetlamps – otherwise known as LEDs. A total of 110 pole mounted cobra head streetlamps will be converted to the new technology by the weekend. The 69 decorative lights along Route 302 are not a part of the present project but are under review for a future technology upgrade, cost permitting.

These highly energy efficient streetlamps not only produce double the energy proficiency than the
older standard compact florescent lamps but their lifespan lasts much longer - 100,000 hours to be exact – thus being more cost-effective and requiring less maintenance.

But that’s not all. LED streetlamps are known to reduce carbon emissions and do not contain toxic chemicals like mercury that is found in traditional sodium and mercury vapor lamps. This makes it a Win-Win situation: a win for the residents of Raymond to keep cost to a minimum and a win for the environment. addition to cost savings and energy efficiency, LED lights provide directional lighting which puts the actual light where it is needed for public safety and also reduces night sky light pollution. Another major factor is that the new lights are programmable. “We will be able to program a specific streetlamp for light intensity or perhaps to blink at the location of an accident.” Town Manager Don Willard stated in a previous interview. “I don’t know if we will want or choose to do all that, but the point is, we could if we want to with an LED lighting system for additional energy savings or public

Known as “smart controls technology”, there are many other ways in which LED lighting can work to the benefit of municipalities like Raymond. Some towns and cities use a number of techniques and capabilities such as increasing in brightness when a pedestrian walks by, getting traffic counts at intersections, and even taking pictures of street surfaces to alert municipalities where pavement and sidewalk improvements need to take place, thus creating a more effective pavement maintenance program and elevating personal safety.

Willard explained that Raymond has been working in conjunction with Windham, Standish and Gorham to provide more cost effective and energy saving street lighting by installing the LED lighting. “As a part of the cost saving efforts, we have been working with consultant REALTERM Energy, a company that works closely with municipalities to install reliable and affordable LED lighting upgrades, often providing the service to groups of towns working together.” In this case, the collective buying will be a result of the collaboration between the four Lakes Region towns. The cost of the project for the Town of Raymond is $78,936 with a payback period of 4.8 years. a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Willard couldn’t contain his excitement regarding this latest, cost-effective and environmentally friendly upgrade. “The streetlamp outside of my office [at Raymond Town Hall] was converted today,” he began. “It will be coming on in a minute and I can’t wait to see what it looks like.”

Other towns in Maine that have converted to or are in the process of converting to LED lamp lighting include Presque Ise, Biddeford, Portland, South Portland, Wells, Dover-Foxcroft, Fort Kent, Houlton, Rockland, Falmouth and Caribou to name just a few. All these municipalities worked with REALTERM Energy.

In a previous interview, Kaela Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant to Willard,  joked “All the cool kids use LED and I think we should consider using it, too.” Well, it seems Raymond has moved forward and is now one of the cool kids on the block.

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