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updated: 11/13/2014 2:07 PM

Mundelein pursuing LED streetlights to reduce electricity costs

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  • Mundelein is set to become the next suburb to swap its traditional streetlight bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs. The swap is expected to save the village money on energy costs and help the environment.

      Mundelein is set to become the next suburb to swap its traditional streetlight bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs. The swap is expected to save the village money on energy costs and help the environment.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer, 2012

 
 

Mundelein is poised to become the next town in the suburbs to feature streetlights with energy-efficient LED bulbs.

The village board this week voted to seek proposals for a retrofit project that could be completed in late 2015 or 2016.

An estimated 900 streetlights would be fitted with new bulbs, about 75 percent of the village's inventory, Public Works Director Adam Boeche said.

The equipment that houses bulbs on the poles would need to be replaced, too, he said. The current light poles would remain.

Officials haven't yet determined how much the project could cost.

LED is short for light-emitting diode. Using LED bulbs could save the village money and help the environment, studies indicate.

Naperville launched a five-year, $6.3 million project to replace its streetlight bulbs with LED equipment this year.

Tests conducted there showed LED lights use 54 percent less electricity than traditional high-pressure sodium bulbs. They're also expected to last longer than sodium bulbs.

Wood Dale spent more than $223,000 a couple years ago to convert all city-owned streetlights from regular bulbs to LED lights. They were expected to reduce energy and maintenance costs by more than $552,000 over the next decade.

Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz is particularly pleased with the idea of providing more energy efficient street lighting in his town.

"We are a village that seeks to be on the cutting edge of environmental awareness and efficiency," Lentz said.

LED streetlights also earned praise from Trustee Ray Semple for reducing light pollution. Light from these fixtures typically is more focused than traditional bulbs, which means less light shining in your windows or into the sky at night, he said.

"It's more directed down to the areas where it's needed on the ground," Semple said.

Bartlett, Carol Stream and Glen Ellyn are among the other suburbs that have switched to LED streetlights.

Additionally, the Cook County Highway Department started using them on the roads it maintains in 2012.

Once Mundelein officials settle on a vendor, installation could take "a couple weeks," Boeche said.

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