In the Know: Identifying tips and practices for a more sustainable future

Town of Atoka, TN Sees Savings from Converting Streetlights to LED

Atoka, TN – In 2017, public works staff in the Town of Atoka were looking for ways to improve sustainability in their community. As the operator of 795 street lights, the Atoka Public Works Department engaged the local electrical co-op, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation (STEMC), about converting their High Pressure Sodium and Mercury Vapor street lights to LED.

Working with STEMC, who helped plan the project and is installing the new lights, Atoka assessed the financial impact. The upfront cost of the LED lights was $238,500 and the new lights have a lifespan of 22 years, compared to the 3 – 5 year lifespan of the old lights. Upon completion of the project, which started in early 2018 and is expected to wrap up in late 2019, the town will realize $45,164 in annual savings from reduced energy use. That’s a payback of 5.3 years.

“Once we looked at the numbers, it was a no brainer,” said Atoka Public Works Director Daniel Lovett. “After the initial payback period, the cost savings from streetlights will result in more money in our street budget for other projects.”

After the payback period, Atoka will see its street budget increase, allowing the town to do more paving and add lights to new construction areas. In 15 years, the town will have saved $664,771 – equal to six miles of paving.

In addition to energy efficiency and long lifespan, another benefit to the LEDs is the lower levels of light pollution. The lights are focused directly downward where illumination is needed; the lights do not shine up or into home windows, which causes glare. They also restart immediately after a lightning flash.

For additional information:
Daniel Lovett
Public Works Director, Town of Atoka

For resources and tools related to sustainability, visit the Center for Sustainability (C4S) and C4S Toolkit.