When you drive by Washington Park in the City of Groton at night you may notice that the park seems to be lit up as bright as day. This is not your imagination – it is the result of brand new LED lights having been installed in the park.
Earthlight Solar and Energy Solutions were contracted to upgrade all lighting for the athletics fields at Washington Park in the spring of 2021 and have completed the renovations as of early October. Nearly 100 LED lights and accompanying fixtures were installed on existing poles around fields 1 and 3 (softball and baseball fields). Additional new lighting was installed for the basketball courts, parking lot and flag pole. While the lights are bright, they are appropriately directional and therefore the project is dark sky compliant, avoiding nighttime light pollution.
The project was done in cooperation with the City of Groton Parks and Recreation Department and Groton Utilities Key Accounts division, with Energy Engineer Hollis McKee taking the lead of planning the project and acquiring the funding.
“The lights in Washington Park needed to be replaced because they were 30 years old, and some of them were no longer operating,” said McKee, “Because they were HID (High-Intensity Discharge) model light bulbs they consumed a ton of electricity. HIDs over time give out less light as well, making them less effective. So new lights are better and will save the city a lot of money on their electric bill.”
Funding for the lighting project was provided through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program via the Connecticut Municipal Electrical Energy Cooperative (CMEEC). RGGI is a cooperative effort among regional states including all of New England, Delaware, Maryland and New York to cap and reduce CO2 emissions. RGGI is the nation’s first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions reduction program.
The total cost of the project was $226,293.30. Due to the upgrade to cost-efficient LED Lighting from HID-style lighting the city with see savings of approximately 56,318 kWh a year. This equates to an expected monetary savings of over $12,380 a year, while also producing less greenhouse gases and lowering our carbon footprint.
According to Earthlight Solar and Energy Solutions this project is the equivalent to:
- 2,004 gallons of oil not burned
- 24,358 pounds of coal not burned
- 98,806 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle per year
“The lights in the park were replaced with LED lights as they have become the standard technology in this field due to the cost savings, smaller carbon footprint and the long life of the bulbs,” said McKee, “The City of Groton is looking to reduce its carbon footprint and be as green as possible. The LEDs also give out brighter light – more lumens – and of course use less energy. It’s a win for the city the whole way around.”
McKee added that the lights are expected to last 15 years, but because they will not be on all the time, or even most nights, that they will last even longer.
There was an interesting note regarding the timing of the project. All but one pole had all of its lights replaced in early September, but the project had to wait until October to be fully completed. Why you ask? It seems an Osprey and its new family had taken up residence at the very top of the lighting pole above leftfield of the baseball field, so Earthlight had to wait until they vacated. Once the nest was no longer occupied Earthlight came back and finished their work.
And a perch was installed for next year. Hope they don’t mind cost-efficient LED lighting.