The Town of Hempstead, just east of New York City, has a population of almost 800,000, and the town's government is tasked with installing, maintaining, and replacing 50,000 street lights.

Until recently, the town was spending $4.9 million a year in energy costs for the lighting, and additional money for maintenance costs associated with replacing burned-out lights.

As a result, the town was looking for a more cost-effective and energy-efficient solution.

"We had our eyes on LED technology for quite a few years because of the impressive energy savings," said Gary Aue, the town's street lighting supervisor. "However, we had yet to find the ideal package that made economic sense."

A team from the town began conducting research on LED luminaire manufacturers, and the decision, made by Anthony Santino, town supervisor, and the Hempstead Town Board, was to select Cree. One reason was that Cree offered a 10-year standard warranty.

Before opting to replace all of the town's 50,000 street lights, the town made the decision to engage in a trial project along nearby Sunrise Highway. Results were impressive—an energy savings of 63 percent, which translated into $75,000 a year.

"When [the Board] saw that there was a lot of money to be saved by harnessing energy conservation without sacrificing lighting quality, they jumped right on it," Aue said.

With the trial project a success, the next step was to actually replace all of the town's 50,000 street and parking lot lights with Cree LED Street luminaires.

Best LED Group was selected as the contractor. Steve Cotsalas, president of Best LED Group, as well as Aue, and their teams, worked with Cree's application engineering group to design, assemble and deploy the package.

The team ultimately opted for three types of lighting:

  • Since the town wanted to maintain its historic look, it selected Cree DPT Series for Decorative Post-Top Luminaires for parts of the town, which provide a warm and inviting glow.
  • It selected Cree XSP Series, which provides crisp, clean illumination, for the major roadways.
  • It selected Cree OSQ flood luminaires with NanoOptic Precision Delivery Grid optics for the town's parking lots, where precise optical control is needed.

The results have included a 60 percent reduction in the town's utility bill and zero maintenance costs. The project is expected to achieve a 2.5-year payback, with $3 million in energy cost savings a year in addition to the reduced maintenance costs. Total lifetime savings of the project are estimated at $57 million.

In addition, the lighting provides a heightened sense of security for residents going out after dark, and business owners appreciate the improved lighting in front of their businesses.

"Everything has really gone quite smoothly, right from the planning stages through the purchasing and installation," Aue said. In fact, while the project was initially expected to take 18 months, it only took a year.

The next phase will be to bring LED lighting to the town's municipal buildings, parks and marinas.

"Due to the success of our street lighting upgrade to LED technology, the Town of Hempstead will soon convert an additional 4,000 indoor luminaires, yielding further savings to taxpayers of $200,000 over ten years," Santino said.

"We are not stopping until the entire town is converted to LED lighting," Aue said.