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Mayor Marvin: Bronxville Seeks 75% Savings in Energy Costs

Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin
Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin Photo Credit: L.Snedeker

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. ? This is a weekly column written by Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin. It is being reprinted by The Bronxville Daily Voice.

One of the main initiatives in the recent Capital Improvement Plan focuses on a street lighting upgrade throughout the Village.  Because of increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic, particularly in and around the business district, a more reliable system is warranted.

Superintendent of Public Works Rocco Circosta has been diligent in researching the new technologies, bulbs and fixtures that have recently become available.  We did not rush into a lighting plan since the technology was changing rapidly as better and more efficient bulbs kept coming to market.  The Village has benefited from our deliberate approach, as we recently found an LED bulb that will fit in our globe lights as well as our conventional overhead fixtures.  Up until just a few months ago, our only choice was to change out or retrofit our globe lights to accommodate any energy efficient bulb.

As background, the Village currently uses the least energy efficient bulb, an 189 watt incandescent filament bulb, in most of the business district.  Due to energy efficiency concerns, the bulb has recently been phased out in the European Community.  The current bulbs have an approximate life of 2,000 hours, so under the most optimal of circumstances they must be changed twice a year.  However, since the core of the bulb is a fragile filament, wind, rain and snowstorms take out many on a weekly basis.  Although the bulbs only cost $8 each, they require a significant amount of maintenance time and personnel.

Currently, we are testing LED lights from two different manufacturers in the three lights at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Pondfield Road.  I ask you to take notice and share your feedback.

Important in our analysis of any of the bulbs is the amount of light emitted, the balance of color, as some lights have a white, yellow or bluish cast, and the general ambient effect upon the Village.

In the very near future, our Department of Public Works will be placing the most recent evolution of LED lights on Parkway Road from the Village line to the Avalon.  This neighborhood was chosen because of the active involvement of residents in a neighborhood association, which we are counting on to give us feedback.

In addition, the lights are at various heights and distances from the curb on Parkway Road, which affects the lumens, thus offering a good test case because of the variety of the poles.

Currently, the Village spends $120,000 per year illuminating our public spaces.  Though the new LED bulbs cost $300 each versus the current $8 cost, their life expectancy is eight to 10 years.  The LED bulb, only 40 watts, actually emits more lumens than the 189 watt bulb currently in our fixtures.  The newer bulbs will also require much less maintenance and will reduce the number of outages.

When the entire inventory of Village light fixtures (536) is changed over to LED bulbs, we anticipate a savings of over 75% in energy costs alone, without even taking into account the maintenance and labor costs of replacing the current fragile filament bulbs.

The current Capital Budget provides for $30,000 to “re-lamp” 100 of the over 500 fixtures in the Village, with initial emphasis on the business district.

Expecting this first foray to prove successful, we will continue to add capital funds going forward to re-lamp the entire Village.

We continue to monitor government sites for any available energy efficiency grants that may help to defray our costs and/or take advantage of the terms of low interest loans from the New York Power Authority.

Our deliberate approach on this project has resulted in the Village ultimately receiving a better product at a reduced cost.

Please share your opinions with us at Village Hall as to the quality of the test fixtures and their illumination.

On the same subject of lighting, or more precisely the lack thereof during Hurricane Sandy, many of you have inquired about the feasibility of burying the seemingly fragile overhead wires.  I reached out to Con Edison staffers and learned that the cost of burying wires is $5 million to $7 million per lane mile (our Village has the equivalent of 17 lane miles) with an additional responsibility of between $5,000 to $20,000 per homeowner, the variance based on whether the terrain is rocky near the hook-up from street to house.

Perhaps a more doable approach is to work with Con Edison to bury or protect the feeder lines that electrify so many ancillary lines throughout the Village.  Surely, there has to be something more we can do to eliminate what happened in the Village during Hurricane Sandy, especially since the outages occurred even though the storm did not even reach a Category 1 hurricane in severity.

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