Energy-saving LED bulbs could help cut lighting costs

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 09/07/2013

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Palmerston North streets could be illuminated by LED lights within 10 years, in a move to make the city more energy efficient.

A look at the Palmerston North's City Council's spending this year showed the city is not isolated from the impact of oil supply on electricity prices.

And just how the council would cope if price spikes became serious was put to the council's planning and policy committee yesterday when the results of an oil vulnerability audit showed a number of the council's services counted on oil.

On the oil-reliant list were street lighting, the council's vehicle fleet, electricity and gas use at the wastewater treatment plant and electricity use at the council's administration buildings.

Head of strategy and policy Neil Miller said different solutions were looked at to lower energy consumption and cut costs if required. Changes to the city's street lighting and the council's fleet use would be the first areas of focus.

The replacement of street lights to LED, or light-emitting diode bulbs, could save power, money and be done progressively, he said.

One of the audit's mitigation options suggests a $3 million spend on 6350 non-arterial route LED street lamps, which would save the council $270,000 a year.

Mr Miller said the change could be a gradual process - street lights that had reached the end of their lifespan could be replaced with LED bulbs over a 10-year period.

Palmerston North businessman and former councillor David Ireland told the committee he had concerns about the tone of the oil vulnerability audit and how it would affect the city's business community. "There are different ways of doing things that can have an impact on how we are able to find smarter ways to work around risks . . . I'm asking you to think a little bit wider to where the report is coming from."

Businesses in town serviced the oil industry and there were resources on the East Coast being explored that could create new opportunities for the council and city businesses, he said.

The council will continue to monitor its energy use and maintain its programmes for renewable energy, adding a yearly review of oil vulnerability.

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- Manawatu Standard

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