Council’s million dollar bright idea

WELLINGTON Shire’s 2250 residential street lights will be replaced with energy efficient, longer lasting LED lights, at a cost of more than $1 million.

The new 18 watt lights will use more than 77 per cent less energy, saving an estimated $160,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs.

Greenhouse gas emissions will also be reduced by more than 900 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The lights will be replaced between November and April.

Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti said the current streetlights accounted for more than a third of council’s electricity use.

“We’re looking forward to getting the new LED lights installed,” he said.

“The replacement lights are one of the most energy efficient options currently available.

“They’ll last much longer, reduce service requirements and provide better lighting across the street.”

Cr Rossetti said the street lights complied with Australian standards and were recently approved for use by Ausnet Services.

“We’re aiming to replace most of the 80W mercury vapour lights located on residential streets across Wellington Shire,” he said.

“Council has also embraced LED lighting in the Sale mall and the art gallery.

“We encourage households and businesses to consider the energy and cost savings by switching to LEDs.”

Cr Rossetti said council had been awarded $390,094 in funding by the Australian government towards the $1,033,412 total cost to upgrade street lights.

“With an estimated cost saving of $160,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs, council’s contribution will be paid back in just over four years.”

Works are expected to take place on weekdays between 7am and 5pm.

The changeover of street lights involves a single elevated work platform with two to three crew members.

It takes about five minutes to replace a street light, so Cr Rossetti said disruptions to traffic should be kept to a minimum.

All the removed lights will be sent to a specialist recycling centre, where most of the components, such as the mercury, glass and metals, can be reused.

Council will have a street light display at its sustainable living education trailer at the Maffra Show this Saturday, and the Heyfield Sustainability Festival on Saturday, November 1.