Wednesday, December 28, 2016

• Streetlight Demonstration Tour

What says "exciting" more than a field trip designed to check out the differences in the newest -state of the art- street lighting options... in Hemet no less?

When there is free Starbucks, and Jersey Mike's in the mix, such silly questions aren't often asked.
A look at the group of local city representatives, and interested residents, listening to Tyler Masters (WRCOG) give an overview of what the tour would entail. Notice the lack of color differentiation in the above photo; it's a yellow cast of gray.

Seriously though, most of the local municipalities are in the process of buying their street lights from SoCal Edison with the aim of retrofitting them with new LED lights, replacing the LPS (Low Pressure Sodium) lights we've had for a generation.

Back in the day, the LPS lights were chosen because of their energy savings at the time. This was talked about in the blog covering the November city council meeting.

A 30 year cash flow model of costs to purchase, retrofit, maintain and finance yields a net savings to Wildomar of $650,000 at year 15, $1.9 million at year 20 and $5.8 million at year 30. 

Jim Filanc, of Southern Contracting, discussed the different lights that we were going to see, and also showed some of the older lights that have been in use. 
There were many different lights on display, including this bulb (1500W Sports Park Light) that Jim Filanc is holding up.
Part of the discussion was a crash course on how light is measured (color temperature) with Kelvin [K]. Example: incandescent light 2700K; warm white 3000K; cool white 4000K; daylight 5500K. At the event we were handed key chains with lights that registered 10,000. 
Wildomar Mayor Bridgette Moore looks on as Jim Filanc demonstrates something very important... what? I don't recall, but look at that gesture... it has to be important... right? ☺
The field trip was in Hemet, where 8 different LED lights had been installed in various neighborhoods or intersections.

The first test was to check out a color wheel under the LPS light in the parking lot where this outing was staged from (Fig. 1 in the graphic below). As you can see from the photos above, there was no way to differentiate color under that light.

The color wheel marked 1 is under the LPS light that is in most neighborhoods now. As you can see, you can't tell one color from another. 

From the staging area we walked about 100 yards to an arterial road (image 2) and though the light was yellow, we could now make out some of the colors.

Some of the options seemed to be too bright in my estimation, but many of them would be a great improvement over what we have.

Initially I was skeptical of going away from the LPS, mostly due to the color. 

My argument has been that a yellow light in a neighborhood gives enough light for safety, but not the type of intrusive shine that a white light can give off (think: hospital corridors).

I'm guessing that being for or against such light spillage depends on if you have any bedroom windows that get streetlight intrusion. 

In the image below, the house on the right is still lit up sufficiently. It's just not glowing like a scene from a Thomas Kinkade painting.
Unless you're looking to play a little midnight basketball in your driveway, you can see that the light coverage is better aimed in the image on the right.

At one of the areas where a new LED light was put in, a neighbor complained that they missed the old amber glow.

WRCOG came back out and installed a filter over the new light, which gave it the familiar yellow feel (number 3 in the color wheel graphic above), but without the color recognition limitations that usually accompanies them. 
An example of "existing lighting" with "glare bombs" (right), and LED lighting on the left. You can see that much of the light is wasted with LPS, whereas the light from the LED is directed toward the roadway.

Thing is, with all but one of the LED options, the "white" lights turned out to be fine, with no "glare bombs" as Jim Flanc called the them, and without the "hospital corridor" feel that I was worried about.
Local Wildomar resident, Grace Morabito, is filling out her questionnaire. You can see how much better the color is under this light compared to ones take under the amber lights above. (Image 8 on the color wheel)

At the end of the tour I asked Tyler Masters, program manager at WRCOG, for a recap of what we just did.

What we were doing here in the city of Hemet, we [had] the fourth of four Streetlight Demonstration Area tours where we've been able to retrofit over 150 streetlights in the city of Hemet; to reflect a whole bunch of different LED technologies. The purpose of the demonstrations is to get city staff, elected officials, the public and the astronomical society to come out and assess the light, tell us what they think about the color, the light output, and help us make recommendations for selections of the LED technologies that are right for the future.

If there are any Wildomartinis that would like to check out the new lights themselves, follow the link to WRCOG's website.

I had to take this picture, often our group looked a lot like a horde zombies searching for something to eat as we walked in the middle of some neighborhood streets.

If you have an opinion about which light the city should convert to, or which color, be sure to stay up on this item by subscribing to city emails at the following link. 
Your ticket to all the city emails you can handle.
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“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” 
― Helen Keller, 1880-1968

Wildomar Rap wants to point out to Ms Keller that everywhere she walked, it was in the dark. No offense... jus' sayin' an' all.

1 comment:

  1. Any chance that when they retrofit the streetlights they may also move them out of the middle of the sidewalk? They are doing this on Palomar near the newer homes near McVicar. Who puts streetlights in the middle of a sidewalk?

    Great blog by the way. I appreciate all the info you provide.


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