Bright idea? City seeks input on new LED streetlights - KCTV5

Bright idea? City seeks input on new LED streetlights

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Some may have noticed their neighborhood doesn't have the same orange tinge it used to. That could be because of new high-efficiency light bulbs.

Light-emitting diode, or LED, lights have gone up all over Kansas City as part of an energy conservation project. 

As the lights become more and more affordable, city officials expect them to be at the same price point as regular street lights in the next couple years. And the people in charge want to know what others think of the bright idea.

A lot of thought has gone into the new 5,000 street lights illuminating areas across the metro.

"Street lighting is the single major electrical cost that cities and counties have," said Roger Kroh, Mid-America Regional Council energy conservation project manager.

But these lights are high-efficiency LEDs. They were put up as part of a test project for energy conservation.

"With a traditional street light, you might use 100 watts on a residential street. And with an LED, you can light the same area with 65 watts," Kroh said.

LEDs brighten up a neighborhood using anywhere from 40 to 60 percent less energy. So on the bright side, the lights cut energy costs.

A city also saves big on labor fees.

Street bulbs die after four years. LEDs last for 10 to 12.

"Sending a truck, a crew out that if you can extend the light from four years to 10 years, and if you can also cut the cost of electricity, both represent savings to the government and tax payers," Kroh said.

On the dim side, people have said the lights cause too much of a glare.

"We've put up over 5,000 lights and have only had about 15 complaints, and we've been able to take care of 13 out of 15 just by readjusting the lights or putting a shield on them.  So far the reaction has been favorable," Kroh explained.

Project officials are still studying how much money Kansas City will save with the new lights.

To tell them what you think, visit http://www.marckcvoices.com/ and take the online survey.  There, you'll also find the times and dates of the town hall meetings. There are four planned meetings over the next 30 days.

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