LED lighting intended for downtown Prairie du Chien

By Correne Martin

The lighting in Prairie du Chien’s downtown may soon have a different hue to it, as LED lamps are planned for installation in the decorative light posts by this fall. Though there is an initial cost involved with this city project, the funds are expected to be recouped in less than three years, thanks to energy efficiency savings, and eventually save the city about $78,000.

Terry Meyer, Prairie du Chien co-manager of public works, said LEDs will replace the conventional 150-watt metal halide fixtures on 85 street lights on Blackhawk Avenue, from Marquette Road to Main Street, and on Main Street, from Blackhawk to Iowa Street. LEDs have a more natural glow to them, as compared to the yellow glow of the current lights.

The city has been working with E3 Energy Coalition of Viroqua on energy-saving projects like this one. (In 2013, the wastewater facility lighting was upgraded with grant funding.)

“This year, we have discussed a number of opportunities for continued energy savings with the E3 staff. The project we are earmarking for 2014 is LED street light retrofitting of the city-owned decorative top post lights in the downtown that were installed in 2008 and 2011 and included in the 2014 Marquette Road work,” said Meyer in a July 30 memo to City Administrator Aaron Kramer. The memo was shared with the Prairie du Chien Common Council, which approved the LED upgrade during its regular meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 5.

According to Meyer, the changeover has the potential to save the city about 54,728 kilowatt hours per year, equalling an annual savings of about $7,052. While the project’s total cost is $29,155, the city can apply for a state energy office clean energy grant through E3 Energy Coalition in the amount of $10,000. This would leave $19,155 to be secured by 2014-2016 Capital Improvement Plan borrowing.

The payback on the funds spent by the city would be about 2.67 years, Meyer said. The LEDs have a five-year warranty and a life expectancy of 50,000 hours of on-time use. Estimates are that each light would be on approximately 4,300 hours per year. Considering those numbers, Meyer said the lights should last about 11 and a half years.

In total, the overall cost savings during that time period should be around $78,000.

As soon as the grant application is approved by the state, the city will order the LEDs. Meyer anticipates installation taking place in October, or sooner if possible.

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