LED Streetlight Retrofit Project FAQs

What kelvin and light temperature LEDs are in the contract and any related neighborhood differences?

Any fixtures we use in our contract will be 3000K or lower. 

What type of LED filters or coatings are in the contract?

There were several options mentioned in the 2019 staff report. The coatings mentioned here relate back to the color temperature. Another possibility is shielding, which will not be necessary because of our extensive design. The lighting that we're providing the Town will only ever fall in the right of way, with minimal lighting falling towards residential properties. Our audit and design phase on our projects are used to address this exact concern. Our data/design team only uses photometrics that work with a particular area (residential vs. intersection). We consistently use a focusing lens which further controls the light distribution so as to only light the street, avoiding any overlighting issues. 

Are residential shields included in the contract for all residential streetlights and if not, what is the shielding plan? 

As experts in the streetlighting field, the work that our audit and design teams do will alleviate the need for additional shield installations. We've completed over 155 projects like this and rarely need to install shields. However, during our investment-grade audit, if we find fixtures that already have a shield in place, we are able to reinstall a shield at that fixture when the new LED goes in. It's likely any shielding needs will be taken care of because of the new LED fixture right out of the box does a good job of containing the light to the street and sidewalk only. 

What are the design plans for the different types of light fixtures existing now (cobra, decorative, etc.)? Will they be replaced with the same type of LED fixture?

Our design team will use the data gathered from our in-field audit and design a new LED system based on the Town's current system. We replace all cobrahead fixtures with LED cobrahead fixtures and in terms of decorative lights, we replace the interior light only with a custom retrofit kit to preserve the aesthetic of the decorative fixtures. It is rare that it is necessary to install a new fixture when converting decorative fixtures to LED. By keeping the same fixture, it preserves the same look and is far less costly than a new LED decorative fixture. 

Current streetlighting is inconsistent throughout the town. Will the town lower the fixture height to offset the brightness and broader glare from LEDs - especially on residential hillsides and near wildlife habitats?

We won't be changing the heights of poles but rather adjusting the light levels to properly accommodate any inconsistencies we find during our audit. This also calls back to the importance of our design and how we customize our design to fit the specific needs and unique geography of the Town. If we find it necessary from our audit data, we are able to tilt the cobra head fixture parallel to the street in order to eliminate glare. This relates to our design process as well as we do take into account pole height and orientation to surrounding hills. Wattages and light distribution will also be altered to have minimal interference with private property and wildlife. 

What is the cost savings for the currently proposed rollout to all streetlights vs. following the pilot test plan that was recommended by staff in 2019?

The cost savings can be found attached. This is the same cost savings summary that we've shared with staff of the Town. In order to benefit from the greatest amount of savings at a faster rate, it's our strong suggestion that the Town converts all at once to gain the most amount of savings with the fastest payback. Our work is done so well and swiftly, most people can't even tell that street lights were changed.

How does the proposed design plan and light selection address the following negative health, safety, and environmental impacts outlined in the 2019 staff report?

All of our projects follow the guidelines of the AMA, specifically related to color temperature. Through our design, lighting will not be going into citizens' homes but will stay in the right of way. Our projects have very few issues reported once completed, the color temperature and photometric pattern keep the light where it is supposed to be. Please feel free to check any of our references, we have very happy customers because of our customer service and proven design process. 

What kind of streetlights does the Town of Corte Madera currently use?

The majority of streetlights currently used in the Town of Corte Madera are High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights.  While HPS is one of the most common streetlight technologies across the country, HPS streetlights are not energy efficient and produce orange, low quality light under which it is difficult to see color. Recently, many cities are transitioning to newer, more effective LED lights.  

What are LED streetlights?

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are a technology that have been used in small electronic devices, such as calculators and digital clocks for decades.  More recently, LED technology has advanced to streetlight applications. LED streetlights are extremely energy efficient, have long life spans, and produce better quality light than HPS streetlights.

What color of light do LED streetlight fixtures produce?

In contrast to the orange light that HPS fixtures emit, LED streetlight fixtures produce a cooler, more neutral-colored light under which it is easier to see true colors.

Why do the new LED fixtures appear to be dimmer?

HPS fixtures tend to produce a bright spot directly underneath the fixture, while LED streetlights are designed to evenly distribute light. This may give the illusion that they are dimmer, but this dispersion of light improves visibility by decreasing sudden contrast between light and dark areas. There is an in-depth design process which ensures that adequate lighting is provided by each fixture. 

Why is the Town doing an LED streetlight conversion project?

The goal of the Town-wide conversion project is to reduce energy consumption and costs associated with streetlighting. In addition, the converted lights will require less maintenance and improve visibility and safety.        

How many streetlights is the Town of Corte Madera replacing with the LED streetlight conversion project?

This project will replace approximately 900 streetlights throughout the Town, most of which are standard streetlights called cobra heads. 

How much will the Town of Corte Madera likely save when it upgrades to LED streetlight fixtures?

The project is expected to save the Town over 259,000 kilowatt hours and approximately $51,000 in energy costs in the first year after the project is implemented.  

How long will the project last? (Depending on scope)

The project began a Town-wide audit that provided precise locations and characteristics of all existing streetlights. The audit is being followed by installation of the new, energy efficient LED cobra head and decorative streetlight fixtures, which will begin in Winter 2021 and is projected to complete in Spring 2022.

What are the benefits of the LED streetlight fixture project?

The benefits of this project include:  

  • Reduced energy consumption resulting in energy savings and reduced Greenhouse Gas emissions
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Improved visible light for residents

What is the Town of Corte Madera doing with all of the streetlights it is removing?

The existing HPS streetlights will be recycled in accordance with all federal and state environmental guidelines. 

Who is the contact for additional questions about the LED streetlight conversion project?

For more information about the LED Streetlight Conversion project, please contact R.J. Suokko, Director of Public Works for the Town of Corte Madera, at (415) 927-5118 or RSuokko@tcmmail.org.