SHIRLEY — The streetlight improvement plan presented to selectmen Monday night by Energy Committee Chairman Bryan Dumont and member Frank Esielionis promises to shed more light on the town for less money and save energy besides.
The three-part plan proposes to reactivate darkened streetlights in the village, shut down a couple that aren’t needed, subject to a safety okay by the police chief, and replace outdated bulbs with new, energy-saving alternatives.
On a town-wide scouting mission, Dumont and Esielionis identified over a dozen of National Grid’s pole-mounted streetlights for upgrades or changes aimed at upping efficiency and effectiveness while downsizing wattage.
The streetlight initiative is part of an energy-economy picture that also includes the ECC’s Solarize Massachusetts/Solarize Shirley project.
So far, 100 residents and six businesses in town have expressed interest in installing solar-energy equipment at their homes or establishments, Dumont said, and there’s still time to sign on and/or learn more about the program via email at ShirleySolar@yahoo.com or by calling 978-425-2726.
The list Dumont and Esielionis prepared targets National Grid poles on Leominster and Great roads, Front, Main and Fredonian streets and various other locations.
Recommended changes include dousing two lights on Leominster Road and Main Street, respectively, and swapping out bulbs in the others, for total annual savings of $2,279.12.
The new sodium lights the old bulbs will be replaced with are not only more effective and less costly, they also last a lot longer, Dumont said.
Phase two of the plan is one of the energy-saving projects the ECC submitted for a grant the town became eligible for thanks to its Green Community designation. It would cover the $6,110 project price tag for illuminating Shirley Village with LED bulbs.
Dumont said the figure was an estimate based on installation cost per fixture.
In an attempt to save money several years ago, half of the 14, town-owned streetlights in the village were darkened. But the shut-down apparently didn’t help.
According to ECC statistics, energy use is 7,205 kilowatt hours now, with only seven lights on, but with an all-LED array, usage would be cut to 1,279 kilowatt hours with all 14 streetlights on. LED also provides more effective light and bulbs last for at least 20 years.
With a payback estimate of three years, the ECC energy analysis also included a few unknowns that could reduce costs even more, but at this point, the town can expect to save $39,370 over 10 years, Dumont said.
In the project’s final phase, all 209 streetlights in town would be converted to LED, including National Grid’s lights, the latter being subject to a pending company program.
In the meantime, other town-owned lights could go LED, including those on Keady Way in the municipal complex, at the Benjamin Hill recreation area and in Whiteley Park.
In conclusion, Dumont said the town now spends $28,405.79 per year on exterior lighting, $26,563.22 of which is the cost of streetlights.
But he posited that figure could be cut by 80 percent or more with the ECC plan, and in the bargain “have better, brighter lighting throughout the community.”