Seeing the light

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While we often hear about the economic cost of going greener, generally receiving less attention is the potential to actually save in the long run.

Converting to newer infrastructure will of course always bear the initial cost of installation, but down the line can actually represent a significant cost savings while at the same time reducing our impact on the environment.

Following a successful pilot project last year to deploy light-emitting diode (LED) street light fixtures in six municipalities throughout the province, FortisAlberta has since received approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission to proceed with upgrades in another 130 communities, including right here in Sundre where work has been coming along well and was expected to be done by roughly mid-month.

The new units replace aging and dated high-pressure sodium fixtures that belched in basically all directions an orange-coloured light, wasting energy and needlessly causing light pollution in the sky, whereas the LED lights emit straight downward a whiter light more reminiscent of an average incandescent bulb at home.

“The (LED) fixtures are dark sky friendly with zero up-light, which means less light pollution and sky glow as the light is directed downward,” said Natasha Russell, a FortisAlberta communications advisor.

The newer technology also provides the following: more even and efficient distribution of light and better quality of light resulting in increased safety and security; reduced energy consumption resulting in energy savings and reduced greenhouse emissions; and reduced outages and longer light lifespans resulting in reduced maintenance costs, she said.

The Town of Sundre will save approximately 175,300 kilowatt hours per year, which is equivalent to the following: taking 24 cars off the road; operating 22 average homes; or planting 5,140 trees per year, she said.

“Our customers have been wanting this for a while,” she recently told the Round Up during a phone interview.

Long story short, energy savings from improved technologies translate not only to lower costs but also to a reduced environmental impact.

So perhaps going green has the potential to be a win-win-win scenario after all.

ó Ducatel is the Round Up’s editor

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The Sundre Round Up has been the source for news and community information in Sundre and area since 1960.