The city of New Albany will replace all of the streetlights with more energy-efficient LED lights, Mayor Tim Kent said.

The New Albany Board of Aldermen voted Dec. 1 to proceed with the estimated $1.5 million project.

The project will be paid for by the cost savings that the city will receive from the more energy-efficient lighting, said Kent.

“We’re just eager to get started,” Kent said. “I think it’s a really good project.”

About 1,200 to 1,400 streetlights in the city will be replaced with LEDs, said Bill Mattox, general manager of New Albany Light, Gas and Water.

Mattox noted that some of the streetlights in the city now are different colors. This project will make all the streetlights the same color and improve the quality of lighting on the street, he noted. Having consistent lighting across town should make the city look better as well, Mattox said.

The project will involve changing out the light fixtures as well as the bulbs. Another advantage of the LED lights is that they will not go out as fast, which will save the city money on maintenance costs, said the mayor.

The city plans to borrow money to do the project and then pay back the loan with the cost savings.

In residential areas the brightness of the lights may be toned down to prevent them from shining into people’s homes, Kent said. The goal is to have the lighting on the street, not in people’s homes, he added.

The city awarded the project to a Jackson company called PATH. The mayor said PATH has a good track record with this kind of work.

The new lighting fixtures are supposed to last 22 years.

The first step in the project is to do a lighting audit, which will involve counting the number of lights. That part of the project should start in about a month. Certain areas will also be studied to make sure the lighting levels are not too bright or too dark.

Kent said he hopes the entire project can be done by the first of summer. The fact that the project will be paid for with savings the city sees on its electric bill is a good thing, Kent said. It is always great when the city can be improved without having to raise taxes, he said.

Mattox said the LED lights are expected to create a significant cost savings.

An estimate from PATH states that streetlight expenses are currently $160,667 per year. That would go down to $67,215 per year after the LED lights were installed, the PATH estimate states.

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