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Chambersburg saving money with LED traffic lights

November 29, 2008|By DON AINES

The Borough of Chambersburg has given the green light to LEDs, taking on the rising cost of energy one bulb at a time.

"We have gone through the process of converting almost all our traffic lights from incandescents to LEDs," Borough Council President William McLaughlin said. At this point, the borough has concentrated on replacing green and red lights while allowing amber bulbs to burn themselves out before being replaced, he said.

The savings will be considerable, said Ron Pezon, the assistant superintendent of the borough's Electric Department. There are about 90 traffic signal poles at 45 intersections in the borough, and each uses about $50 to $60 worth of electricity each month, he said.

Switching to the LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, will reduce that cost by about two-thirds to $15 or $20 per month, Pezon said. While the incandescents cost just a few dollars, about half the price of an LED, Pezon said they have a life of between one and two years.

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By comparison, the rated life of an LED is about 10 years, he said.

That also makes them safer for the borough employees who have to change the bulbs because they will spend much less time working at busy intersections replacing the ones that burn out, Pezon said.

The LEDs also are more versatile, with clear or colored bulbs that can be mixed and matched with different lenses for optimum visibility at intersections, Pezon said. One example came to light recently when the borough received a complaint that a green light at one intersection appeared to be illuminated simultaneously with a red light.

The sun at a certain point of the day was hitting the signal at such an angle that it appeared to be on, Pezon said. The fix was simple enough, changing out the green lens to a clear one, he said.

"We're also looking at using LEDs for the decorative street lights along Philadelphia and Edgar" avenues, McLaughlin said.

The borough is looking at other ways to utilize LEDs for more energy and cost savings, he said.

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