Cutting off the lights

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Josh Cryer
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Cutting off the lights

Post by Josh Cryer »

They're cutting off the street lights here. Half of the publicly owned ones. It's amazing. While I advocate starry night initiatives (and I am sure that the skies will become more visible), in times of economic downturn I think it is a bad move.

We have nightly robberies here now, in a city that rarely had them in the previous years.

I myself got shot at a few weeks back.

I don't know, I never go out after dark anyway, but this is disconcerting.

Apparently the labor to go around turning off the 22,000 street lights was almost as much as the savings that they'd get from doing it. But it went through anyway. I suppose a councilman wanted to "show" for all of their work.

We are saving about a million bucks. I wonder if it'll be worth it, though.

We'll see.
Science is what we have learned about how not to fool ourselves about the way the world is.

EricF
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Post by EricF »


Scupperer
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Post by Scupperer »

http://www.ledlightsorient.com/street-lights-c-8.html

Contact your local politicians and tell them to grab some of that "stimulus" money.
Perrin Ehlinger

jnaujok
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Re: Cutting off the lights

Post by jnaujok »

Josh Cryer wrote: Apparently the labor to go around turning off the 22,000 street lights was almost as much as the savings that they'd get from doing it. But it went through anyway. I suppose a councilman wanted to "show" for all of their work.
You must live in Colorado Springs...

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Just think of the reduced carbon footprint and the reduction in sea level rise.

And then consider your town a shining example for the rest of us.

Getting shot at is a small price to pay for saving the earth.

Why it is almost as if you don't care about species extinction.

====

Yeah. I know. It is mean and cruel. I couldn't resist.

Now think of 6 or 9 billion people who would rather have civilization NOW than worry about some possible future disaster 50 or 100 years off.

Which is why no one is really interested in CO2 reduction except as part of a natural technological progression.

Stats I have seen from first world surveys show that at $1,000 a year cost the desire for CO2 reduction falls to almost zero. In the third world the equivalent number is probably between $10 and $100 a year.

The only way to get the reduction you believe is so necessary is to reduce the costs of the alternatives to below that of present methods.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Josh Cryer
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Post by Josh Cryer »

jnaujok, indeed! It's going to get dark around here come Feb. I wonder how the stars are going to look. They're effectively halving the light pollution.

MSimon, they're doing it due to budget cutbacks, they're installing sensors though that can be turned on and off at whim, so if the budget stabilizes, they'll bring it back up without much fanfare (much less labor to flip a switch than to install new sensors).
Science is what we have learned about how not to fool ourselves about the way the world is.

jnaujok
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Post by jnaujok »

Josh Cryer wrote:jnaujok, indeed! It's going to get dark around here come Feb. I wonder how the stars are going to look. They're effectively halving the light pollution.
Hopefully they'll shut off the flickery streetlight across from my house. I'd love to see stars below 2nd magnitude again. (I grew up in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, where a cold winter night meant you could almost see individual stars in the Milky Way.)

Josh Cryer
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Post by Josh Cryer »

jnaujok wrote:Hopefully they'll shut off the flickery streetlight across from my house. I'd love to see stars below 2nd magnitude again. (I grew up in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, where a cold winter night meant you could almost see individual stars in the Milky Way.)
Several dozen lights in my old neighborhood weren't even on, the light bulbs blew and they just never replaced them (this happened at the deep end of the recession so I don't blame 'em). I bet they just leave them off over there.

I too enjoy looking at the stars, especially watching satellite transits (ISS especially). I am an advocate for starry night initiatives, but you can design point lights that make the light go downwards and reduce ambient.

I am loving these LED street lights:

Image

Dark Skies talks about good street lights: http://www.darksky.org (Mix between brightness for safety and minimal light pollution.)

About your blinking street light. Simple solution: BB gun. ;)
Science is what we have learned about how not to fool ourselves about the way the world is.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

About your blinking street light. Simple solution: BB gun.
I think a pumped air rifle (.22cal) or a 22 would be better.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Josh Cryer
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Post by Josh Cryer »

MSimon wrote:I think a pumped air rifle (.22cal) or a 22 would be better.
Use a pellet gun. This way if you get caught you don't go to jail for a firearm discharge, but rather possessing a deadly weapon.
Science is what we have learned about how not to fool ourselves about the way the world is.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Josh Cryer wrote:
MSimon wrote:I think a pumped air rifle (.22cal) or a 22 would be better.
Use a pellet gun. This way if you get caught you don't go to jail for a firearm discharge, but rather possessing a deadly weapon.
A pumped air rifle (.22 cal) is a pellet gun.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Diogenes
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Post by Diogenes »

Josh Cryer wrote:
jnaujok wrote:Hopefully they'll shut off the flickery streetlight across from my house. I'd love to see stars below 2nd magnitude again. (I grew up in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, where a cold winter night meant you could almost see individual stars in the Milky Way.)
Several dozen lights in my old neighborhood weren't even on, the light bulbs blew and they just never replaced them (this happened at the deep end of the recession so I don't blame 'em). I bet they just leave them off over there.

I too enjoy looking at the stars, especially watching satellite transits (ISS especially). I am an advocate for starry night initiatives, but you can design point lights that make the light go downwards and reduce ambient.

I am loving these LED street lights:

Image

Dark Skies talks about good street lights: http://www.darksky.org (Mix between brightness for safety and minimal light pollution.)

About your blinking street light. Simple solution: BB gun. ;)

Last time I checked, LED street lights cost $1,000.00 each.


Assuming a 400 watt Metal Halide street light is ordinarily lit for 12 hours each night, and assuming electricity costs 10 cents/kilowatt hour, the nightly cost = (12 * .4 kwhs)*$0.10 = 48 cents per night.

The cost for a year would be 365*.48 = $175.2

Assuming an LED street light which is equivalent to a 400 watt metal halide lamp, and assuming a 50% reduction in energy usage, (traffic signal LEDs can save 87% of the energy) the LED will save half the electrical costs of the 400 watt metal halide or $87.6/year.

At the rate of saving $87.6/year it will take 11.41 years ($1000.00/($87.6 per year))just to equal what the device cost, let alone what it costs to pay someone to install it. As the warranty is probably out in 5 years, (which seems to be the warranty period for LED aviation lamps and traffic signal LED assemblies) the thing very likely won't even last the 11.41 years necessary to break even, let alone save any money.

LED street lights is a great idea, but it's just not ripe yet. If they can get the cost down around $400.00 or less, and/or increase the efficiencies, at some point the concept will be ready for prime time. The fact that many cities are installing these things anyways is probably just evidence that they employ incompetent government bureaucrats, or that they are getting Federal financial assistance (grant money) from other incompetent government bureaucrats.

In any case, before any governmental entity decides to install LED lights, they need to first run the numbers (which they probably won't) and see if the idea makes sense economically. If there are other considerations (like the Dark Sky program, or load reduction) then it might be reasonable to do it anyway.

BenTC
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Post by BenTC »

MSimon wrote:And then consider your town a shining[?] example for the rest of us.
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

tombo
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Post by tombo »

Josh Cryer wrote:
MSimon wrote:I think a pumped air rifle (.22cal) or a 22 would be better.
Use a pellet gun. This way if you get caught you don't go to jail for a firearm discharge, but rather possessing a deadly weapon.
A BB gun won't work as the cover is very heavy glass for that very purpose.
I once saw (many years ago) someone use a wrist rocket very effectively.
I've seen people use sheet metal shields to keep them from shining into bedroom windows. Some have even forced the city to install the shield.
I don't know how effective they are but one would be less likely to provoke a "repair" by the city.

LED's consume a lot less than half the power of a fluorescent light. (from package ratings at costco)
But they are still way too expensive for me yet, except in flashlights where you can't beat them.

Scupperer
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Post by Scupperer »

Last time I checked, LED street lights cost $1,000.00 each.
When was the last time you checked? Several new manufacturing plants for ultra-bright white LED's are on-line just this year. My local Sam's is selling LED bulbs at about what CF bulbs ran when they first hit mass production ($5-$15/bulb, depending on brightness). They're available in equivalent light ratings from 25W-150W (sorry, they don't give the actual lumens on the packaging, just the incandescent equivalents).

I've already started switching out the CF bulbs in my house as they burn out. The light quality is much better, and they seem to work fine on dim switches, too. There are also LED replacements for fluorescent tubes, as well, but haven't seen them yet locally.

Anyway, I figure with the product available to the mass public now, the streetlights are probably much less expensive as well.
Perrin Ehlinger

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