REDINGTON BEACH — Duke Energy believes it has a bright idea for replacing town street lights, with fixtures designed to prevent illumination from spreading into resident’s yards and homes.
During a Jan. 19 meeting, Commissioner Richard Cariello told fellow commissioners that Duke is proposing to change all the lights not only in Redington Beach but throughout the area from sodium vapor to LED lights. There is no cost for the changeover.
“This has been going on for quite some time, because (in Duke’s original proposal) the type of fixture they were going to provide us with was unacceptable,” Cariello explained. “It was too bright and there was no way of adjusting it to deflect the pattern of the light; we would have to put screens on (the light fixture) at an additional cost to us.”
The commissioner advised a new Duke project manager, Duane Young, the utility’s outdoor lighting program manager for the Florida coast, came up with a solution. He found a different type of light fixture that is very close to what the town currently has in use, except it is an LED. The wattage and power consumption is the same, it’s slightly brighter, but the color temperature is slightly cooler.
In a letter to the city, Young recommended a fixture type that has a narrower light spread for most roadway applications. It radiates 5,232 lumens of light, compared with the existing 4,000-lumen fixture currently in use. A lumen is a measure of visible light. The higher the lumen rating the brighter the light will appear.
The proposed light fixture has a 3,000 Kelvin color temperature, while town lights now are roughly 2,200 K, so the new fixtures would appear slightly brighter. The Kelvin scale refers to the shade of white light that is being reflected. Young said the type of light fixture he proposes will be more focused on the roadway and have less spillover into homes, which he knows is a concern to some residents.
The utility will test four LED light fixtures on currently installed light poles to determine which the town likes best. “They are proposing that we pick out a location where they can put three to four fixtures in a test run. We will decide whether or not this is acceptable,” Cariello told fellow commissioners.
“We can have Duke Energy (install) the test fixtures and then we can decide if we want to move forward. If it is acceptable, they are proposing the entire town be relighted. If it’s not acceptable, we’ll go accordingly,” he added.
Mayor David Will noted a problem initially came to light when old street lights burned out and they were replaced with new fixtures that were a lot brighter.
“After dealing with the turtle lights on Gulf Boulevard, we looked at doing something with the interior lights in the town. If they are going to replace them all with those bright lights, we are going to have a problem,” the mayor said.
One resident voiced concern about light spread, since depending on where poles are located, a resident’s entire yard can be illuminated by the street light. Another resident said the street light near her house is so bright they can read a newspaper in her backyard.
That’s why “we’re trying to determine if these fixtures, these lights, will meet our needs,” Cariello said. “They can say anything they want, until we actually see these lights installed.”
The idea to conduct a test of the three new LED street lights was Duke’s recommendation, the commissioner advised.
“It will be a good example as far as what the town is going to look like and how these lights are going to produce,” Cariello added. The Causeway will also get the new lights, with special safe turtle lighting only on Gulf Boulevard.
Commissioners gave their consensus approval to go ahead with the street light test, so residents can decide which fixture they like best.