A five-street comparison of LED streetlights (above) and HPS lights (below) showed how brighter and more directed LEDs can be

Kelowna council approves massive street light replacement program

Councillors approve a plan to replace thousands of city street lights with longer-lasting LED lights.

Kelowna city council has seen the light.

After hearing the city could save $13 million over the next 15 years by replacing 10,000 of its existing high pressure sodium (HPS) street lights with longer lasting light emitting diode (LED) lights, council gave the plan the green light.

While money for the $3.4 million cost of the replacement — down from $3.9 million thanks to a promised rebate from FortisBC — still has to be found in city’s upcoming 2017 budget, city staff say the replacement will result in lights that will be brighter, more directed, longer lasting and cost-saving thanks to less frequent replacement and less required maintenance.

Civic operations director Joe Creron told council Monday, staff have been looking at the replacement project for several years and now has a business case to support the move.

Life expectancy of LED lights is 15 to 20 years, compared with just five to seven for HSP lights.

However its not all bright lights for the LED’s according to a study published in late 2010 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The city has been using LED lights in its city hall parking lot for 15 years and has not had to replace them since they were installed.

The business case was created for the switch over after a study involving five similar streets in the city where LED and HPS lights were compared.

In making the move, Kelowna would be following the lead of several other cities across the country that have also made the switch to LED street lights.