At their June 12th meeting, the Select Board will be presented with and discuss a range of installation options for the LED streetlight project approved by Town Meeting last month.
Our January 19th article, Needham streets may soon be illuminated by new LED streetlights, outlined the proposed projects. Supported by a grant from the MAPC, the project would save nearly $95,000 annual in energy costs and significantly reduce maintenance requirements, providing further savings.
Last summer, we highlighted the Town’s LED pilot program soliciting feedback on several LED streetlight options and published an article on outdoor lighting and key features to consider in decision making.
Recent attention to the impact the “blue light” from handheld devices has on melantonin production and sleep habits has drawn additional attention to similar considerations for street lighting. Street lighting is also a contributor to light pollution, so the choices matter. While the issues are – not surprisingly – more complex than some articles suggest, it’s clear that the trend in choosing street lighting is toward “warmer” lighting (3000K or below).
The LED lights selected for the procurement after the pilot have a 3000K color temperature. 3000K is the current recommendation from the Dark Skies Initiative, though Dark Skies anticipates a move to 2700K in the near future, as 2700K lighting becomes more widely available.
Green Needham members Deb Schmill and Anne Hayek have both been active in this area (Anne is the author of the outdoor lighting article referenced above). Anne’s recent research verified that several 2700K options now available qualify for use in MAPC-funded projects like Needham’s.
We expect that the Select Board will be able to consider a 2700K option for Needham’s LED streetlight project. A similar project now underway in Wellesley is using 2700K lighting for residential streets and 3000K lighting for higher traffic streets like Great Plain Ave. and Route 9.
Carys Lustig, Director of Administration & Finance, Public Services, and Tony Del Gaizo, Town Engineer, will make the presentation to the Select Board. It is scheduled for 7:45 pm on Tuesday, June 12th in the Select Board’s Chambers at Town Hall. The presentation will be followed by a discussion of the board.
The board is expected to vote a recommendation at their June 26th meeting.