In an effort to reduce Bellingham's energy consumption consistent with goals of the Climate Action Plan, the City converted its street lights to LED. The conversion began in late 2015 and within a year all 3,900 City-owned streetlights were LED. Since then, power consumption for street lighting has been reduced by nearly 40%.
An adaptive, smart streetlight communication and control system was included with the City upgrade. The goal of the control system was to provide even greater savings by dimming lights when not needed. However, the control system failed to meet expectations and the lighting contractor was unable to provide solutions. As a result, the City's street lights did not automatically dim at programmed times and failed to turn off dawn to dusk.
Bellingham Public Works worked with the contractor to develop options. Over the summer, City Council selected the option that would remove the light control system, install photocells on all streetlights, and retrofit 350 decorate street lights with warmer color light lamps, directed downward to preserve “dark sky" as much as possible.
The process to implement the Council-approved option is nearly complete. By November, all City streetlight fixtures should have non-dimming lights that automatically operate dusk to dawn, and decorative light fixture kits installed where applicable. However, until this work is complete, the streetlights are likely either on (even during daylight hours) or off.
To find out when specific lights will be fully functional, contact Clark Williams, Public Works superintendent for lighting, at (360) 778-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.