One of Loudoun’s smallest towns is leading the way in embracing new technology.
The Town Council voted unanimously Thursday night to direct project specialist Rob Lohr to contract with Dominion Energy to replace all of the town’s existing sodium and mercury vapor streetlights with 70-watt LED lights, making it the first Virginia locality to fully convert to LED streetlights through the company’s program.
Lohr said that Dominion would replace the town’s 56 “shoebox” streetlights and 11 decorative acorn lights in two phases. The first step will be the replacement of 32 streetlights in the older section of town and in the Lake Ridge Estates neighborhood within two to three months. It takes about 45 minutes to change out each light. After phase one is complete, residents, staffers and Town Council members will have about 48 hours to examine the lights to determine whether they’re too bright or dim. The second phase to replace the town’s remaining streetlights is expected to wrap up by August.
Under the Dominion program, the town will pay $149 per light replacement, $9,983 in all. That total is about 4 percent of what it would have cost if the town had replaced the lights on its own. Moving forward, Dominion will be responsible for streetlight maintenance and replacement. Lohr said the lights would pay themselves off in two years through energy cost savings.
If the town had opted to handle the project on its own, it could have paid up to $234,000 to replace all 67 streetlights, at up to $3,000 for “shoebox” streetlights and up to $6,000 for acorn lights.
“It’s going to turn out to be a really great program,” Lohr said.
While Round Hill will become the first Virginia town to convert entirely to LED streetlighting, it won’t be the only Loudoun town using the technology.
In 2009, Dominion selected Purcellville as the first town in the state to participate in an LED pilot project that installed 10 of the streetlights along South 20th Street between G Street and Main Street. Two years later, the town partnered with Dominion and the county to install another 42 LED streetlights along the full length of Main Street.
In 2015, Middleburg received a grant from the Community Foundation and a donation from Middleburg Beautification and Preservation to install 21 LED streetlights along Washington Street from Jay Street to the community center.
Lovettsville also installed several LED streetlights along Broad Way from the community center to Park Place as part of phase one of its Broad Way Improvement Project in 2016. NV Retail and 7-Eleven additionally installed a few of the lights in recent years on their properties in town.
Leesburg’s 24 new streetlights in the downtown area are also LEDs.