Outside The Wire

Is new LED lighting in Vicenza a dim-bulb idea?

The Army has replaced 247 light poles and 494 old style metal halide lamp fixtures with 357 LED light fixtures on Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy. But how do the numbers add up? (Army photo)

Am I missing something?

The Army has announced that it has changed the street lights at its Vicenza, Italy Garrison.

The story, posted on Army.mil, says the project led to replacing the street lights with lower-energy Light Emitting Diode street lamps at Caserma Carlo Ederle.

In all, 247 lamps were replaced at a cost of $843,000, the Army says.

According to the story, “The switch-over will save the Army money in two ways, said Engineering Division Chief Greg Vallery of the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza Directorate of Public Works. ‘This will result in an 85 percent reduction in energy consumption, saving $20,000 a year,’ Vallery said. Additionally, LED lamps should last a minimum of 10 years, he said.”

‘Because the LED lamps last five times as long as the old lamps they are replacing, the savings from the purchase of replacement lights will be $6,500 a year,’ said Vallery. ‘To that we can add the cost of man hours no longer required to replace the old-style lamps, saving another $3,500 annually.’”

Let’s do the math.

The Army will save $20,000 a year in energy costs, plus $10,000 a year in replacement bulbs and man hours to install them.

That comes to $30,000 in savings per year.

So in 28 years, the Army will recoup its investment.

Oh, but wait, the bulbs only last 10 years, so every 10 years, the service will have to buy new bulbs and spend the money to replace them.

As a result, it will probably take more than 30 years to recoup the government’s investment.

At least the streets will be brighter.

Comments

  1. Mark Hidden Says:
    August 6th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Your math looks ok. However, the article mentions two important points, light pollution, and not enough light. The bottom line they needed to replace the lights anyways. When you have to replace it anyways, it’s just the right thing to do. The article was poorly written because it sounded like they were doing it because of the cost savings, only mentioning the low light and light pollution issue as if they were added benefits, they were probably required to do it.
    http://www.lightpollution.it/cinzano/en/page95en.html

  2. Drew Says:
    August 8th, 2013 at 3:44 am

    No, but spelling “Vicenza” wrong in the headline is pretty dumb.

  3. Corvi LED Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 7:11 am

    The good thing about this article is, It defines how LED lights can help to save money. Common $30,000 is not a small amount. Its good to hear the Army will save this amount every year.

  4. Adam Palmer Says:
    August 13th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    How long did the previous light bulbs last? If the previous light bulbs lasted 5 years, the LED lighting solutions are already better.

  5. Jason Says:
    August 22nd, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Yup. You’re missing something big. The cost included the replacement of the poles. In 10 years they won’t have to replace the poles. They don’t clarify this in the article, which leads one to believe that there will not be a long-term cost savings, but the bulbs will only have to be replced every 10 years.