Outdoor Lighting

The Electric Systems Department Announces New 'Outdoor Lighting Modernization Program'

The City of Concord’s Electric Systems Department customers may see some changes in their communities as the Department embarks on a new initiative to modernize outdoor security and street lighting across its entire electric service area with the use of light emitting diode fixtures.

Advancements in light emitting diode (LED) technology has created a unique opportunity for Electric Systems Staff to develop an Outdoor Lighting Modernization Program (OLMP). Through the use of LED fixtures, the OLMP will deliver more usable illumination while consuming roughly 40-50% less energy, with a corresponding reduction in the City’s carbon footprint. In addition, the new LED fixtures will offer a much improved color rendering index level, meaning the illumination will have a more pleasing cool, bluish appearance, which increases the visibility of illuminated objects. 

The Electric Systems Department currently operates and maintains approximately 7,250 lease lights (back yard security and parking lot lights), and 5,800 roadway/street lights. Many of the outdoor lights on the City’s system use outdated technology such as mercury vapor, having been installed decades ago and have reached the end of their useful life. Maintenance costs for aging legacy lighting fixtures continues to rise. In addition, advancements in lighting technology and increasingly stringent efficiency standards serve to make many of the legacy lights obsolete.

The inherent ability of LED lighting fixtures to offer precise directional control of illumination has opened the door for a much more effective lighting product for both the streetlight and lease light programs. The Electric Systems Engineering Division studied many possible fixture illumination patterns and developed a selection criteria that meets our fixture illumination goals at the lowest fixture and installation costs possible. The Engineering Division has also committed to investigate and consider new, more efficient lighting options as they become available in the market, and to share those options as part of the Departments on-going commitment to serve outdoor lighting customers with the most effective products at economical pricing.

The OLMP Street light selection criteria allows for the most illumination possible on the actual street/roadway and the sidewalk area as well. In summary, we are able to direct more of the useful light where it is intended; on the street, with sufficient backlighting to illuminate the adjacent sidewalks. While lease lighting in the form of security and parking area lights is designed to meet specific customer requests for Illuminance of the area in question, while minimizing the impact of light trespass on adjoining properties.

Implementation of the new LED fixtures will be based on a combination of pro-active and reactive measures. All new street or lease lighting installations will use LED fixtures. To take advantage of an existing crew dispatch, all existing lights that cease to burn for any reason will be replaced with the appropriate LED fixture. All Mercury Vapor fixtures will be replaced immediately as time allows. As funding allows, the City will also look towards conversion of entire neighborhoods at one time.

The Department continually strives to meet our performance goal of responding within two days to any outdoor light outage report. The additional time of installing the new fixture has created a considerable new workload that City crews are working diligently to overcome. The OLMP is expected to take between 2-3 years for full implementation at current replacement schedules.

The Outdoor Lighting Modernization Program has given the City a unique opportunity to improve service levels, improve lighting applications, and reduce energy and maintenance costs all while bringing advanced LED lighting to the customers we serve. And it will provide positive environmental benefits such as a reduction in the City’s carbon footprint as we move away from older, less-efficient lighting technologies.

For more information, please contact the Electric Engineering Division at 704-920-5309.