Earlier this month, the City of Murrieta, CA became the first of 11 Riverside County cities to obtain ownership of thousands of streetlights that will be retrofit with LED fixtures to minimize light pollution, enhance public safety, and save approximately $60 million in reduced energy and maintenance costs over a 20-year period. The Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) is working on behalf of the 11 local jurisdictions to facilitate the purchase of streetlights from Southern California Edison (SCE) and retrofit them with 55,000 Current, powered by GE fixtures.
WRCOG solicited public input from the community on which LED lights were best-suited for the region by creating a demonstration area in the City of Hemet. Guided tours with elected officials, public safety personnel, and local residents featured QR codes on demonstration light poles that revealed survey questions about 12 potential vendor solutions. Based on regional assessment and expert recommendations, Current by GE’s Evolve lights, which feature reflective technology that minimizes glare, were selected for the project.
According to Tyler Masters, WRCOG Program Manager, the Current by GE retrofit will offset the equivalent energy use of 2,000 homes each year.
“We’re pleased to have found a solution that makes economic sense while balancing the public safety needs and the reduction of artificial night sky brightness,” said Masters.
Astronomers and scientists from the nearby world-renowned Palomar Observatory participated in the Hemet demonstration area and were also consulted on artificial night sky brightness. The observatory collects and analyzes data for scientists globally and is home to the Hale 200-inch telescope, one of the largest in the world. Palomar officials applauded the WRCOG streetlight solution for serving public safety and environmental sustainability objectives while reducing sky brightness for astronomy research.
“The community involvement and rigor of this project is really a model for cities and towns nationwide,” said RJ Darling, General Manager of Roadway Solutions for Current by GE. “WRCOG showcases the strength of communities working together to benefit both the short and long-term interests of citizens.”
In addition to Murrieta, the Cities of Lake Elsinore, Eastvale, Hemet, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Perris, San Jacinto, Temecula, and Wildomar, and the Jurupa Community Services District are participating in the program. All installations are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.