New tool analyzes costs, benefits of converting to LED streetlights

A new tool is available to help municipalities evaluate the costs and benefits of converting to LED street and roadway lighting. The DOE Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium has released the Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool for immediate download. This Excel-based tool was developed in collaboration with the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Converting the nation’s streetlights to LED technology could not only reduce energy consumption significantly, but also improve the quality of illumination. The Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool will make it easier for cities, utilities and others to analyze the cost benefit of LED street lighting by giving them specific key information on costs and return on investment.

Users plug in data on variables relevant to their particular project to get a detailed analysis that includes annualized energy-cost savings, maintenance savings, greenhouse gas reductions and simple payback. Decision makers can use this information when putting together construction and conservation grant applications, as well as preparing budgets and comparing the incumbent costs to new.

Users who are purchasing and installing their own streetlights or those requesting bids from outside vendors can use the tool to make sure the lighting meets their goals and needs. The tool accepts data based on three common project models:

  • Per unit cost for fixtures, hourly rate for installation (owner purchases fixtures and uses internal (or external) labor resources to install units at an hourly rate)
  • Per unit cost for fixtures, per unit cost for installation (owner purchases fixtures and uses external labor resources to install fixtures at fixed per unit cost)
  • Single Lump Sum cost for labor and material (owner hires external resources to purchase and install fixtures at a fixed lump sum per-unit cost for labor and material)

For each of these scenarios, pre-construction, construction engineering (inspection) and project management costs may be entered in the Project Overhead and Implementation section to capture all project costs. 

Imbedded notes within the tool provide at-a-glance guidance and can be quickly identified in cells with red tags in the upper right corners. MSSLC has created an instructional video, an example analysis and  tips to help users get the most from its Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool.  (Source: Municipal Solid State Lighting Consortium via American Public Power Association)

LED workshop focuses on municipal uses

The City of San José, Calif., hosted the Municipal Solid State Lighting Consortium’s (MSSL)   final workshop of the 2011 fiscal year Aug. 25 and 26.

Following a welcome by San José Mayor Chuck Reed, 88 attendees spent a day and a half exploring topics that included: 

  • City of San José LED Street Lighting Program
  • Reading and Understanding LM-79 & LM-80
  • Cost Benefit Analysis Financial Tools – Evaluating the Impacts
  • LED Streetlights and the Environment
  • Calculating Light Loss Factors in the LED World
  • The MSSLC Consortium’s LED Luminaire Specification
  • Purchasing an LED and Advanced Control System – Lessons Learned
  • California LED Street Lighting Tariff Pilot Program for Variable Usage
  • Technology and Market Assessment of Networked Outdoor Lighting Controls – NEEA Study
  • MSSLC Specification – Remote Monitoring and Adaptive Lighting Control Systems

Audience participation was particularly strong for the session, Cost Benefit Analysis Financial Tools, presented by Emma Berndt of Clinton Climate Initiative. The need for such a tool became evident when the speaker asked who would download this program when it became available, and just about everyone in the audience raised their hands. This presentation, along with Jason Tuenge’s presentation on the new luminaire specification, energized attendees with anticipation for these two documents that MSSL will release over the next few weeks.

Attendees also had opportunities to network during extended breaks and lunch.  Participants came from as far away as Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. Thursday evening, most of the attendees joined a bus tour of San José’s residential and arterial street outdoor LED lighting and controls pilot installations. The outing included a tour of the Philips Lumileds LED fabrication plant in San José, providing an overview on how this technology works. Attendees learned which fixtures and which applications result in best performance and the most energy savings. 

According to attendee surveys, the workshop offered much-needed insight into the use of LEDs in municipal applications. Download the workshop presentations and other materials to learn more.

The MSSL Consortium is busy planning educational activities for the new fiscal year. Expect a webinar this fall on the Cost Benefit Analysis financial tools.