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City votes to replace bulbs in traffic signals to save money

August 01, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - In an effort to save thousands of dollars, the City of Hagerstown will start replacing its traffic signal bulbs with light-emitting diodes.

City Public Works Director Eric Deike said the switch could shave a significant amount off the $90,000 annual electric bill that the city pays to keep the traffic signals operating.

The City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to spend $16,932 to purchase the LEDs from RGA Inc., of Powhatan, Va.

LEDs are a series of several small lights, rather than a single bulb, he said. One of the advantages of LEDs is that when one or two of the small lights burns out, the light remains operational.

Besides using about 75 percent less electricity than conventional bulbs, Deike said LEDs last up to 10 times longer.

Bulbs last about one or two years, he said.

The city would save labor costs by not having to change the LEDs as often, Deike said.

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"(LEDs) are there quite a while before you have to worry about them," he said.

A disadvantage of LEDs is the cost.

Deike said LEDs cost anywhere from $56 to $103 each, depending on the color.

Bulbs cost about $5 each, he said.

The extra cost isn't a big concern, Deike said, considering the city would save money in the long run from the advantages that LEDs have to offer.

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