Earlier this month, the City of Murrieta, California became the first of 11 Riverside County cities to acquire ownership of thousands of streetlights that will be retrofitted with LED fixtures. The 11-city project seeks to minimize light pollution, enhance public safety, and save about $60 million in reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs over a 20-year period.
The Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) is acting on behalf of the 11 local municipalities to facilitate the purchase of streetlights from Southern California Edison (SCE) and then retrofit them with 55,000 Current, powered by GE fixtures.
WRCOG Created Demonstration Area and Solicited Public Input
WRCOG created a demonstration area in the City of Hemet and then solicited public input about which LED lights were best-suited for the region.
Guided tours with elected officials, public safety personnel and local residents had QR codes on demonstration light poles that showed survey questions about 12 potential vendor solutions. As a result of the regional assessment and expert recommendations, Current by GE’s Evolve lights, which feature reflective technology that reduces glare, were chosen for the project.
According to Tyler Masters, WRCOG Program Manager, the reduction in energy consumption from the Current by GE retrofit will be equivalent to the energy use of 2,000 homes each year. “We’re pleased to have found a solution that makes economic sense while balancing the public safety needs and the reduction of artificial night sky brightness.”
Scientists and astronomers from the nearby Palomar Observatory participated in the Hemet demonstration area and also advised about the artificial night sky brightness.
The observatory collects and analyzes data for astronomers and scientists worldwide and is home to the Hale 200-inch telescope, among the largest in the world. Palomar officials praised the WRCOG streetlight solution for serving both public safety and environmental sustainability objectives while lessening sky brightness for astronomy research.
“The community involvement and rigor of this project is really a model for cities and towns nationwide,” said RJ Darling, General Manager of Roadway Solutions for Current by GE. “WRCOG showcases the strength of communities working together to benefit both the short and long-term interests of citizens.”
In addition to Murrieta the jurisdictions within Riverside County that will get LED lighting include the Cities of Eastvale, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Perris, San Jacinto, Temecula, and Wildomar, as well as the Jurupa Community Services District are participating in the program. All the LED lighting installations are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.