Evaluating LED Street Lighting


Sponsor: Nantucket Energy Office IMG_9901
Sponsor Liaison: Lauren M. Sinatra, Energy Project & Outreach Coordinator
Larry Kester, Town Facilities Manager
Kristen Hunt, Emily Potter, Huyen Vu, James Waldo
Abstract: The Town of Nantucket has nearly 200 decorative streetlamps that require constant maintenance and repair. The goal of our project was to create a database of the streetlamps and evaluate the feasibility of retrofitting the lights with LEDs. We inventoried the decorative streetlamps, created a database and an interactive map of the streetlamp locations, assessed public opinion about the LED retrofit, and analyzed the economic costs and benefits of the conversion. Based on our findings, we recommend a plan for proactive maintenance and we conclude that an LED conversion would be a feasible option for the Town of Nantucket that would reduce maintenance problems and maintain the desired lighting aesthetics.
Links: NEO IQP Final Report
NEO Final Presentation

Executive Summary

Background and Methods:
Across the United States, the cost of electricity is rising. Nantucket has some of the
highest electricity costs in the country because electricity is imported from the mainland via two
undersea cables. With the influx of population and increased energy usage during the summer
tourist season, the installation of a third cable is a distinct possibility which would cost a
significant amount of money for the Town. Communities across the United States have been
implementing energy efficiency programs to try to reduce energy consumption and costs. In
Nantucket, the municipal government’s goal is to lower the energy usage on the island to reduce
costs and forestall the installation of a third National Grid transmission cable to supply
electricity. The Town of Nantucket established the Energy Office in 2011 to facilitate this effort.
As part of this ongoing effort, the Energy Office solicited the help of our team to evaluate
whether light-emitting diode (LED) streetlamps were a desirable option to reduce energy
consumption, maintenance costs, and improve aesthetic appeal of the Town. There are nearly
200 unmetered, Town-owned, decorative streetlamps in Nantucket. Most of the decorative
streetlamps are located in the historic core districts of downtown Nantucket and Siasconset and
are designed to mimic antique lights consistent with Nantucket’s historic past. Although many
people in town like the historic appearance of the streetlamps and the warm light they cast, the
streetlamps have suffered significant neglect in recent years due to confusion about maintenance
responsibilities and poor maintenance records.
The goal of our project was to create a database of the streetlamps to serve as the basis
for an improved maintenance program and to evaluate the feasibility of retrofitting the lights
with LEDs. The Nantucket Energy Office recruited three LED retrofit companies (Amerlux,
LED Conversions, and PennGlobe) to install LED lights in selected streetlamps as part of a pilot
project for the evaluation. To achieve our goal, we identified four objectives:

Objective 1: Develop a user-friendly streetlamps database to enhance operations and
Our first objective was to develop a database for the streetlamp inventory in order to have
a record of information on each of the nearly 200 Town-owned streetlamps. Utilizing an iPad
with the Form Connect Pro application we inventoried the conditions and specifications of each
streetlamp before complying data into a Google Spreadsheet in one centralized location.

Objective 2: Create an interactive map of streetlamp locations for the public and officials
to utilize for reporting issues.
The second objective was to create an interactive map for the public to identify the
problematic streetlamps and inform the officials about the issues. We plotted the streetlamp
locations on Google My Maps that could be found on the Town website with a link to the
reporting form, along with additional information for the public to access.

Objective 3: Evaluate public and stakeholder opinions on the pilot installation of LED
streetlamps at selected locations.
The team’s third objective was to evaluate the opinions regarding the LED pilot retrofits
installed within nine streetlamps through different types of surveys and interviews of
stakeholders. We conducted three types of surveys, in-person, online, and QR code, to gauge the
public’s feedback on the different options of retrofit pilot kits and overall streetlamp conditions.
Key stakeholders were identified and interviewed on their opinions pertaining to the possibility
of an LED conversion.

Objective 4: Analyze the economic costs and benefits of replacing the existing streetlamps
in the historic district with LEDs.
Our final objective was to calculate the total cost for each retrofit kit, including all
aspects for the complete conversion process, to determine the best option for the town. Using
information from representatives of National Grid and each pilot LED retrofit company,
Amerlux, LED Conversions, and PennGlobe, we calculated the overall conversion cost, reduced
tariff rate for LED lights, and payback period for each scenario.

Results and Findings:
Our inventory revealed that there are actually 194 streetlamps in total, rather than the
presumed 199 based on prior records. Of the existing 194 streetlamps, six were missing
streetlamp fixtures and 23 had various functional issues at the time of our research. To enhance
future maintenance efforts, we created a maintenance record as part of the streetlamp database,
along with a workflow process to track the history of repairs.
The interactive map showed the location of the streetlamps and provided a reporting form
for the public to notify maintenance officials of problems. The team established a flowchart to
illustrate how the appropriate officials would be alerted about the reported issue and the
boundary of their responsibilities throughout the reporting process. We also created a manual to
show how the inventory database and interactive map were updated accordingly.
We received 126 responses on the LED pilot locations and the general maintenance of the
streetlamps from our survey methods. Overall 74% of respondents believed that the LED retrofit
was appropriate for the historic downtown area. In comparison with the existing lighting, three-fourth
of the respondents indicated they preferred the brightness of LEDs. Ninety percent of
respondents indicated they would support an LED conversion with the positive benefits of
decreased energy usage and reduced required maintenance.
The team calculated the costs associated with a complete conversion for each specified
pilot company. In addition, the projected savings associated with an LED conversion for the
Town of Nantucket was determined and a variety of estimated payback periods were presented
as examples. However, there was uncertainty in the utilization of the annual maintenance cost for
the streetlamps due to lack of records of the current costs and the unknown maintenance required
for LEDs. Therefore, the Town should look further into the overall economic of an LED

Based on our research and findings we make seven recommendations to the Town of

Recommendation 1: The inventory database, interactive map, streetlamp issue reporting
form, and maintenance form should be maintained and updated by one individual in the
One individual should have the responsibility to update the inventory database,
interactive map, and maintenance form to reduce the chances of the systems not being updated
properly. We recommend that the town officials involved with the decorative streetlamps should
appoint a person as the Town Streetlamp Administrator.

Recommendation 2: The Town should define a clear chain of communication for the
process of maintaining the streetlamps and responding to complaints.
We recommend that the Town should define a chain of communication that would
prevent confusion among the parties involved when an issue with the streetlamp is reported.
Each individual party should have a defined responsibility to prevent any detail or action from
being overlooked or neglected. This would allow the whole to work in an orderly fashion to
efficiently fix safety and other concerns in a timely and cost-effective fashion.

Recommendation 3: The Town should explore ways to upgrade and improve the
streetlamp database to address current limitations.
Due to limitations with the software used for both the inventory and map, we recommend
that the limitations be resolved with future upgrades to the software. The inventory database and
interactive map should be linked for automatic updating. Dropdown menus should be created for
the data included on Google My Maps to update the map easily to avoid human error. When a
reporting form is submitted, the current status and icon on the interactive map should
automatically change. The interactive map should also be upgraded and improved to incorporate
extended features for official purposes, such as color coding for specific groups.

Recommendation 4: The Town should improve the conditions of the streetlamps through a
scheduled maintenance plan and install more streetlamps to increase the amount of lighting
in the downtown area.
The team recommends that the Town create a biannual scheduled maintenance plan for
the decorative streetlamps and install more streetlamps in areas identified as inadequately lit. The
Department of Public Works (DPW) should take more responsibility in maintaining the
structural repairs that do not have to be addressed by an electrician or National Grid. Additional
streetlamps should be installed in areas that are lacking street lighting and ambient light from the
surrounding businesses. With the addition of new streetlamps to the inventory, the Town should
determine the type of streetlamp fixture and other components that should be the standard for

Recommendation 5: The Town should focus on educating the public on the technology
behind LEDs.
Since there is still substantial public misunderstanding about LED technologies, the
Town should implement a thorough public outreach effort in advance of implementing a full
conversion of the streetlamps to LEDs.

Recommendation 6: The Town of Nantucket should expand upon our research in
considering an LED conversion.
The Town should go through with the process of an LED conversion for the decorative
streetlamps after further investigation. From the surveys it was apparent that the public was
accepting of the possibility of converting the HPS bulbs to LED retrofits to gain the benefits of
reduced maintenance and decreased energy usage while preserving the historic appeal of the
Town with the warm color temperature. However, the Town should continue gaining public
feedback on the LEDs and look further into the economics revolving around the change from the
current lighting to LEDs.

Recommendation 7: If the Town of Nantucket implements an LED Conversion, we
recommend the 2400 K retrofit kit supplied by Amerlux.
The team recommends the 2400 K retrofit kit from Amerlux for a possible LED
conversion. From public input, we determined the public preferred the warmer color of
Amerlux’s custom made LED for Nantucket.