Streelighting is one of the most effective methods to reduce a local governments’ energy use and cost. With extreme drought, recent wildfires, and mudslides, climate change is becoming something California cannot ignore especially for the millions of residents in communities who reside in coastal regions. It’s shocking to discover how much energy is used in these populous coastal cities, and it is important to create methods that provide a smooth transition to sustainable, long-term solutions for these effects. It is safe to say that streetlights are vital infrastructure for any city, but what can municipalities do to most sustainably provide this service? Coastal cities are realizing the impact they can make when it comes to energy consumption by simply switching out light bulbs. The following LGSEC Member Spotlight discusses the efforts made by the City of Huntington Beach to increase energy efficiency pertaining to streetlights.
The City of Huntington Beach is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the course of 10 years by completing a 11,000+ streetlight retrofit project that started in 2015. There are 13,668 streetlights in Huntington and 11,181 were eligible for an ownership transfer. Majority of these lights are rated to be in ‘good’ condition and were purchased by the City of Huntington Beach from Southern California Edison. The goal is to replace the existing HPS bulbs with efficient LED technology. LED bulbs last 100,000 hours (about 11 years if running 24/7), which is almost twice the lifetime of HPS bulbs.
The projected annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions are 2,460,174 pounds of CO2, which is equivalent to removing the GHGs emitted from 239 cars a year. Additionally, 70 million kWh hours of energy, which is equivalent to removing the GHGs emitted from 11,155 cars, are expected to be saved over 20 years. Since its implementation in 2015, almost all of the 11,1818 streetlights have been successfully retrofitted. It will cost the City of Huntington Beach $11.7 million to replace and maintain the streetlights over this time period, but as a result they will save $10-14 million over the next 20 years in energy savings (about $1,168,887 annually).
The project was granted a $7.7 million low-interest loan from the California Lending for Energy and Environmental Needs Center (CLEEN), which was established by the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank). While awarded the full project amount the City only accepted $3 million from the IBank and also received $3 million from the California Energy Commission, the remainder of the project funds came from the General Fund.
Prior to installation, half of the City’s energy budget went to streetlights, about $1.8 million annually. After transferring ownership the City of Huntington Beach expects to save an average of $66 per pole, per year. Prioritizing the energy efficiency of municipally-owned infrastructure is an effective way for the City of Huntington Beach to address climate change in a way that benefits the City’s overall financial picture as well.
Future of the Program:
The City of Huntington Beach is working with American Tower/Philips to deploy about 200 Smart Fusion Poles in the downtown area and along Pacific Coast Highway. The deployment of these poles will improve connectivity and enable the City to work with American Tower/Philips to install fiber in our downtown corridor. About 100 smart streetlights will be installed in the year 2018 and the City of Huntington Beach will be the first city to establish smart streetlights in the country.
The City of Huntington Beach is working with: Siemens, Philips, and Southern California Edison.