Grant from state to light up city streets more efficiently
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A year after experimenting with environmentally friendly streetlights on the South Side, city officials have been awarded an $816,000 grant to begin a citywide conversion from standard lights to lower costing, more-energy efficient LEDs.
The grant was one of 40, totaling $20.5 million, that Gov. Ed Rendell announced Wednesday for public and private energy initiatives statewide. Funding is from state and federal sources, including federal stimulus funds.
Besides Pittsburgh's project, the awards included about $500,000 to Burns and Scalo Roofing Co. to incorporate solar technology into the roof of an office and warehouse building, about $36,000 to PPG Industries for lighting upgrades at its Glass Business and Discovery Center and about $71,000 to the Pittsburgh Public Schools for solar thermal systems.
In all, Mr. Rendell said in a statement, the 40 grants will "generate or save the equivalent of more than 10 billion kilowatt hours of electricity over their lifetimes. That's enough energy to power one million average homes in Pennsylvania for one year."
The city last year experimented with about a half-dozen kinds of environmentally friendly lights in the South Side and encouraged the public to weigh in on which ones they liked the best. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's office didn't say how many people voted, but officials said participants liked LEDs -- light-emitting diodes -- the best.
Now, officials said, the city will use the grant to launch the first phase of a citywide conversion to LEDs.
"I am extremely thankful and excited that Gov. Rendell has funded this very important project that will save taxpayer dollars, reduce our carbon footprint and improve the quality of lighting for our residents," Mr. Ravenstahl said in a statement.
The city spends about $3.2 million annually on 40,000 street lights that use about 2.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year.
The first phase of the conversion, involving about 3,000 lights in 30 neighborhood business districts, will save about $110,000 in energy and maintenance costs each year. An estimate of the energy savings in phase one was not provided.
The city will ask vendors to submit proposals for installing the LEDs, with the aim of having the work done next summer.
Officials said they'll also seek funding for additional phases of the conversion.
First Published September 3, 2010 12:00 am