What does the LED replacement work involve?
We've updated many of the streetlights in Hamilton with LED lights. They last longer, require less maintenance and use less energy than the old lamps. The work was part of a project to replace around 15,000 lights. We aren't replacing or upgrading the poles they sit on, but we're taking the opportunity as we go to also audit our city's lights for future improvement work.
Why are you changing the lights?
The lights use about half of the power of the existing sodium lamps, last three times longer and have a guarantee for 10 years. They are a more sustainable solution for the city and are being rolled out in many parts of the country.
Are you doing all the lights?
We have completed all our main roads, our standard-type lights in residential streets and our lights in the central city. Some local streets have decorative hanging-type lanterns that we haven't easily been able to retrofit. We now have an innovative solution that we will be rolling out that still keeps the decorative look and will closely match the poles that they sit on. We won't be doing any specialised lights, such as those on bridges or on artwork etc.
How much do the lights cost?
The lighting replacement is being done with a Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency subsidy. Hamilton City Council's contribution will pay for itself in the next few years through considerable cost savings in maintenance and power consumption. As more people switch to LED lighting the cost comes down. The new lanterns are now cheaper than buying the old sodium lanterns. With the subsidy the price of the supply and installation of the lantern in residential areas are approximately $400-500 each (Council share).
When will it happen and how long will it take?
Work on this last stage will start in January 2021 and will run through to July 2021.
Who is doing the work?
Council's partner Infrastructure Alliance is carrying out the procurement and installation of the lights. Collaborative working agreement.
Do I have to do anything special or will you block my driveway?
We expect little disruption for residents and motorists. Installation takes around an hour per light and most residents probably won't notice the work in their street until after the new lights are up. We may need to do some minor trimming of your trees should they be blocking the street light out in the road area. We may also ask you to have this undertaken. We will be working both at night and during the day.
The light looks different?
We have maximised the lighting in your street by using a slightly higher-powered LED light than is usual. If the light is too bright or too dull we would need to compare your street with our designs and NZ standards and we maybe be able to dim or tilt the light to a slightly lower setting. This may not be possible or could take us some time to carry this out so please be patient. There is a difference in the colour and focus of the new lights and in some other areas of the country there has been a perception that the LED lights are not as bright. Testing shows the light levels are at least as good as previously but with less of a diffused glow. We have looked at the best options for Hamilton and are using specific lighting designs, a higher-specification lamp and a 'warm white' light colour where appropriate for a softer look and feel.
We have also tried to match the exiting poles the lights sit on and the previous look of the light (aesthetics). We have a great solution that means we can use the same light through all these streets but customised to the poles they sit on
Did you consider environmental impacts of the LED lights?
We gave careful consideration to the type and colour of the new lights as there is increasing evidence that white light at night can have an environmental effect on insects and bats, while also having the potential to affect the day/night cycles of mammals, called the 'circadian rhythm'. The 'warm white' colour of the LED light we selected, which looks slightly yellow in colour, has a lower environmental impact. We also wanted to reduce pollutant light and are working with the Hamilton Astronomical Society on ways to achieve this in the area around the Hamilton Observatory by the zoo.
What if the light outside my house is not working - when will you come and fix it?
If it's flickering or you believe it's a safety issue, then we will aim to repair your light within our normal timelines. It's likely if we do repair it we will replace it with one of the new LED lights. This means it may look a bit different to the other lights in your street and may change or alter the light spread along the street.
What can I do if I am still not happy about the new lights?
You can speak to the Infrastructure Alliance by calling Hamilton City Council on 07 838 6699.