Can’t Please Everyone All The Time, I Guess – Municipal Lighting Edition


I have been getting a kick out of a few news articles posted lately about municipal whining regarding LEDs and “energy efficient” lighting applications.  Lots of places across the country are installing LED based street lighting, CFL lighting in office and government buildings, high bay LED and CFL lighting, and other energy saving applications of LED technology.  It’s not making everyone happy for whatever reason.  It’s a subtle and gentle reminder that all of us will never be happy at one time.

Isn’t that a shame?

First up, the Kennebunkport Street Light Committee in (you guessed it) Kennebunkport, Maine made a plan to shut off 94 of the city’s 201 street lights.  Oh, are residents unhappy with this decision!  My first question would be about safety and visibility, as would yours I assume.  A valid question, methinks, right?  The residents of Kennebunkport are advocating for buying a bunch of LED street lights instead of turning some of the existing ones off, which kind of refutes the plan to save money right now.  Okay, it would be a long-term investment, yes – but it’s certainly not gonna be savings that anyone is going to reap any time soon.

The Kennebunkport police department showed the residents some statistics of accident data collected over the last five years to show them that there isn’t a correlation between night time driving and street light use in the town.  The town will save about $110 bucks for each light decommissioned, or about $10,300.  I wonder what they’re going to do?

(thanks WMTW)

Last but not least for now, residents of Fort Collins, Colorado are unhappy with their new energy efficient lighting in city government offices and council chambers.  Fort Collins just spent about a million dollars changing out all of their city government lighting to energy efficient CFLs.  From an article at The Coloradoan:

The last building to get switched over was City Hall, where the City Council conducts its business on most Tuesday nights. Bulbs installed in the council’s chambers changed the lighting in the room from a fairly muted yellow to a noticeably brighter, bluish tinge.

The difference has been noticed – and not altogether favorably – by residents who regularly attend council meetings as well as council members.

Community activist Stacy Lynne told the council Tuesday the room’s atmosphere had gone from one that evoked a sense of “peace and calmness” to one that is “sterile, cold and induces a sense of agitation” because of the glare from the lights.

“Is that the environment you want to create for a meeting place that inherently produces strong emotion?” she said. “Does that make common sense?”

Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Ohlson responded that the change in the view from the council’s dais brought on by the bulbs was “borderline creepy.”

The city’s intentions toward saving energy “were absolutely right on the money,” he said, but he agreed the lighting wasn’t quite right.

“In this particular case, I think we’re going to have to balance as much as possible the aesthetics and the comfort zone,” he said.

City crews switched out 52 fixtures in the council chambers, said Tracy Ochsner of operation services. The fixtures are on a dimmer switch and do not have to be cranked up to full power, he said.

Hmm.  At least the camera ops like it:

He noted that camera operators with cable television Channel 14, which broadcasts council sessions and other public meetings from the room, like the brighter lights.

Well, at least someone likes it.


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  1. I guess they didn’t buy those Warm CFL’s!! When you spend that much money on re-lamping, you would think they would hire a lighting designer to plan out what they should use where.

    As for Kennebunkport, I think turning off street lamps is not a very good idea. As a Mainer, I know how few street lights we have in the state, but it depends on where they are planning to turn them off. Maybe just turn off the ones all around Walker Point (Bush estate). That would save a lot of money.

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