Published January 19, 2017
Volume 1, Number 1

The Future is Brightly Lit for Hacienda

By Tina Hansen
Pulse Writer

Hacienda is now among the leaders in the region as it becomes fully illuminated in the future's bright light of energy efficienct street lights.

With an eye to the future, the City of Pleasanton and Hacienda have recently completed the conversion of 5,446 street lights from high pressure sodium (HPS) vapor “cobra head” fixtures to Light-Emitting Diode (LED) streetlights. Hacienda paid for and manages the maintenance of 787 of these streetlights.
According to Kathleen Yurchak, Director of Operations and Water Utilities, the total cost of project was $1,755,000 and the project stayed on budget. The City received a loan from the California Energy Commission for $2,755,000 and a one-time conversion incentive rebate from PG&E for $354,000.

The streetlight conversion was part of Pleasanton's Climate Action Plan and offers both environmental and financial benefits for both Hacienda and Pleasanton. The new technology of LED lights offer reduced energy consumption resulting in energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced maintenance costs, smaller size, longer lifetime and faster switching than HPS lamps.

The new technology also comes with lower electricity rates which creates additional savings. The average of electricity rates in Pleasanton, as of September 2016, was 18.22¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh), which is an estimated 42 percent more than average rates that same month in the nation as a whole. This made the conversion a simple choice for community leaders as an important move to make the necessary changes to keep costs under control.

In fact, it is projected there will be a savings of up to 60 percent in maintenance and electricity costs combined. In addition, the LED manufacturers provided a standard 5 to 10-year warranty on equipment and estimate the lifecycle to be over 20 years.

Another benefit from this initiative is the resulting significant reduction in recycling costs as the former streetlights had to be disposed of as hazardous waste. “The City’s lighting contractor provides disposal services and they are required to follow appropriate disposal procedures,” says Yurchak.

The conversion to LED streetlights is expected to save Pleasanton more than $200,000 annually in energy and maintenance costs since each lamp will last about five times longer than the high-pressure sodium fixtures previous in place. Since Hacienda pays for the maintenance and utilities on these lights as well, it will also reap the same benefits described for the entire project.

LED lights are a technology that has been used in solid state lighting for decades. More recently, LED technology has advanced to streetlight applications. LED streetlights are extremely energy efficient, have long life spans, and produce a better color and quality of light than typical High Pressure Sodium (HPS) streetlights. 

It might be hyperbole to say that LED lights saved the planet, but with the direction lighting technology is going in the future, one thing is clear: it is no longer your grandfather's light bulb. Most importantly for Hacienda, the new lights provide better visibility for employees and residents. The general consensus is the lights are much whiter and brighter.

This is one of several energy efficiency projects that the city and Hacienda have jointly undertaken. Previously, Hacienda and Pleasanton jointly participated in a retrofit of the traffic signals from regular lamps to LED lights. As with the street light project, Hacienda manages over thirty signalized intersection and has likewise benefitted from the retrofits as it pays for the signal's maintenance and utilities.

The City of Pleasanton has more LED conversion projects in the works this year, which include converting the decorative street lights, parking lot and pathway lights to LED. Additional LED light conversions are being contemplated for the city tennis courts, adult softball fields at the Ken Mercer Sports Park and Upper Bernal Fields.

Energy conservation and management as a whole is changing so rapidly and the need for new products that can be used daily in households is more critical than ever. The need for an economical energy source is inescapable, and the one that is most obvious for California is solar power. In response, the City of Pleasanton is planning to conduct a solar siting feasibility study.

Additional innovations are on their way. While technology, regulations and practicality have not all caught up with one another, which creates it own set of challenges, locally, new ideas and technologies are emerging and Hacienda will remain focused on taking advantage of these to create additional opportunities, both for the development as a whole and with individual projects, to improve energy efficiency.