More than 600 “cobra-head” streetlights and around 10 historical streetlight fixtures will soon be converted to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, reducing both costs and energy consumption in East Hampton Town by around 60 percent, the town board was told on Tuesday.
Samantha Klein of the Natural Resources Department updated the board as to the plan pitched more than a year ago by the New York Power Authority, which is assisting communities across the state in converting more than 200,000 streetlights to LEDs. The contractor implementing the project is Guth DeConzo Consulting Engineers of Troy, N.Y., and New York City.
Last year, BouJeloud Reed, Guth DeConzo’s senior lighting designer and engineering manager, recommended to the board 2,700 kelvin, a measurement of “color temperature” on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000, that describes the look and feel of the light produced. The recommendation takes into account pedestrian safety, energy savings, fixture performance, existing conditions and configuration, environmental impact, and Dark Sky compliance. The latter criterion refers to the International Dark-Sky Association’s seal of approval for outdoor lighting fixtures.
Dark sky advocates criticized the recommendation. Susan Harder of Springs, who is the New York section leader of the International Dark-Sky Association, spoke against the recommendation multiple times last year and in favor of 2,200 kelvin, reducing the amount of blue light, which she said is harmful to heath, vision, flora and fauna, and the view of the night sky.
But Guth DeConzo and NYPA “really helped the town to find the balance of utilizing the proper brightness for pedestrian and driver safety,” Ms. Klein said, “but also to be Dark Sky-compliant and maximize our reduction of energy consumption.”
All streetlights in the conversion project will be connected to a remote monitoring dashboard, she told the board. “This will be an easy way for us to keep track of any lights that go out and their exact location,” she said, “so it will help our ability to respond effectively.”
Installations are to begin next month, with a crew converting an average of 25 cobra-head streetlights per day, she said. “They are projecting to be fully complete in two months.”
Streetlights in downtown Montauk have already been converted to LED and are not part of the project. Historic fixtures on North Main Street in East Hampton will also not be changed. It is not anticipated that travel lanes will be closed during the installation, Councilwoman Cate Rogers said.
Ms. Klein said that a previously cleared area on the East Hampton Town Airport property will be used for staging. The expectation is that the crew will start in Wainscott and work through the town from there.