NAUGATUCK — Buying street lights in the year 2016 is a lot like buying a new car.
That is what local officials are finding as they research energy-efficient street lights.
“You have to think of it like buying a car in that you have so many different options,” borough Information Technology Director Jim Kallipolites said. “The light is the main option, but there are several types of lights, and you can add things like cameras or Wi-Fi antennas, etc.”
The borough has formed an alternative energy committee of public employees, elected officials and volunteers to find ways to save money on energy. The first goal is to replace the bulbs on most, if not all, of the borough’s 1,800 street lights and lamp posts.
Naugatuck has also contracted with Energy Services Co., or ESCO, of Lenox, Mass., to help in the process.
So far, the committee has learned that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of varying light-emitting diode, LED, bulbs that they can choose from.
They have also learned that for an additional cost, they can put surveillance cameras in them and add Wi-Fi for Internet access, which they are considering. Kallipolites and the Naugatuck Police Department are exploring areas in the community where cameras can be installed into lights.
The committee is also looking to see if it can put a Wi-Fi tower on top of Town Hall to provide access to people and businesses downtown.
Deputy Mayor Robert Neth, who is on the committee, said the group is looking for the most economical and serviceable plan for the borough.
Department of Public Works Director Jim Stewart said the committee plans to visit communities that have implemented LED bulbs and other energy saving amenities to get ideas.
He said Naugatuck currently has metal-halide, high-pressure sodium and yellow-tinted lights. They need to be replaced every six years. The LEDs are under warranty for 10 years and expected to last between 10 to 15 years, he said.
Borough officials have estimated there is a potential savings of about $200,000 per year from converting to LEDs.