COLCHESTER, VT February 18, 2010
Green Mountain Power has submitted a plan to the Vermont Public Service Board to offer LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights to replace worn-out mercury vapor lights in streetlights throughout its service area. The Colchester utility is the first electric utility in New England — and one of only a handful in the country — to offer an LED-specific rate to customers for outdoor lighting.
“Offering this new lighting technology to our customers furthers Green Mountain Power’s commitment to being an environmentally responsible company,” said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power president and chief executive officer. “By promoting energy efficient technology we help customers to reduce the amount of energy they use and we also protect Vermont night sky.” The type of LED lights being used are full cut off, meaning no light will shine above the fixture.
If approved by regulators, customers will be able to request LEDs if they are installing new streetlights, or if existing fixtures fail. Mercury vapor lights, among the least efficient of lighting products, will no longer be used for new lighting and will be phased out over time.
LEDs, traditionally used in Christmas tree lights or basketball scoreboards, use a different technology from standard incandescent light bulbs. They don’t have a filament that can burn out and don’t get especially hot. LEDs derive their light from the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material.Compared with mercury vapor bulbs, LED lights produce a comparable amount of light with a 66 percent savings in energy use or watts. In addition, LEDs are extremely long-lasting. An LED luminaire has a potential lifespan of more than 25 years, compared to 5-7 years for traditional street lamp bulbs.
The LED fixtures GMP is planning to use also play an important role in reducing light pollution and glare. They direct 100 percent of the light below the fixture, with no light escaping above the fixture.
The LED technology is gaining in popularity nationwide, as studies suggest that complete conversion to LED lights could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric lighting by up to 50 percent in just over 20 years.
A 2008 report by the McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, found that replacing commercial lighting with LEDs and compact fluorescent lights has the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gases when compared with other options that use existing technology. The report found that converting those light sources could abate 240 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. by 2030.
For fact sheets and more information about LEDs, visit the U.S. Department of Energy Web site at: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/using_leds.html.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.