KELOWNA – City council members are unanimous in their support for a staff proposal to change most of Kelowna’s street lights to a more energy efficient type of bulb.
The projected cost for changing the bulbs from sodium to light emitting diodes in about 10,000 street lamps is about $3.4 million.
But because LED bulbs use less electricity and last longer, the change-over would save the city a lot of money.
“It pays itself off in three and a half years,” says councillor Luke Stack. “And then we have a gain of about a million dollars a year in savings for the next 15 years so it’s quite a substantial saving for the city.”
The sodium bulbs have a more soft, yellowish light while the LED bulbs have a more sharp, bluish light.
The difference can impact people’s health according to Dr. Ron Cridland of the Kelowna Sleep Clinic.
“There’s no question light, the intensity and colour of light, affects our health,” says Cridland. “It affects our alertness, ability to sleep and can affect our biological rhythms. And so these things definitely need to be taken into account.”
Stack says that can be done with the latest LED technology.
“There’s been such advances in the past few years that the ability to control the quality of the light, the brightness of the light and how far it spreads out is far superior to what it was a few years ago.”
Council’s final decision on the proposed street lamp change-over will come after budget deliberations later this year.
It’s expected the conversion will begin about a year from now and take about a year to complete.