The City of Berkeley has been replacing failing streetlights, and both residents and UC Berkeley students have expressed concern over the lighting in Berkeley, as first reported by Berkeleyside.
The new LED streetlight bulbs that replaced the city`s old high-pressure sodium bulbs in 2015 are failing at a higher rate than expected, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko. This is an issue Chakko`s office has noticed for about a year, although the LED streetlights were expected to last 13 to 17 years.
[We`ve been replacing them as they emerge because we don`t want any impact on the streets," Chakko said. [And what the company has given us is that they are replacing these fixtures with an even more energy-efficient fixture, so we should see another 25 percent reduction in our energy use and cost as a result."
The decision to switch to LED bulbs was partly environmentally based, as the LED bulbs have a higher rate of energy efficiency and reduce Berkeley`s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Chakko.
The LED bulbs also light streets better and are more cost-efficient. Berkeley took a $3 million loan from the California Energy Commission and uses more than $400,000 saved by the LED bulbs annually to pay back the loan.
The company that supplied the new LED bulbs, Leotek, has agreed to replace any of Berkeley`s failing fixtures because the bulbs are under warranty, according to Chakko. #www.ledlightinside.com
The responsibility of paying for the labor costs required to replace the light fixtures is still under negotiation, but Chakko said he expects Leotek to pay for these labor costs.
The LED fixtures are composed of a number of diodes that produce light, Chakko said. He added that when the LED streetlights [fail," individual diodes are failing, which dims the amount of light a fixture emits.
Though the city has been working to replace failing light fixtures for the last year, some residents are unhappy with the city`s lighting.
[Overall, it`s pretty bad - as a pedestrian and as a driver," said lifelong Berkeley resident Liz Liebman. [I think there should just be more lights in general - they`re pretty spread out - and that they should also add some kind of lighting to all major crosswalks. Whenever I hear in the news that someone`s been hit, I`m not surprised."
UC Berkeley students have also expressed issues with the city`s lighting. Campus freshman Firdows Mujir has had trouble reading building signs; freshman Elena Chen wishes the city could increase street lighting.
[People may have interest in having better-lit areas, and they can certainly report that to our 311 system, but it`s not because of this issue," Chakko said. [It may be because they want additional fixtures in their neighborhood."
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