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‘Getting green for going green’

Town makes move to LED fixtures to save money

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The Town of Hempstead has replaced hundreds of incandescent and high-pressure sodium vapor lighting fixtures with LED lights in Baldwin Park, which is expected to save energy as well as money for local taxpayers.

Town Supervisor Laura Gillen joined council members and PSEG Long Island representatives at Baldwin Harbor Town Park on Aug. 15 to announce that the town accepted a $192,000 rebate check from PSEG after the energy-efficient upgrades.

“We’re here today because the Town of Hempstead is getting green for going green,” Gillen said. “This a great way for us as a town to continue the great work that has been done for years in the Town of Hempstead on the environmental front, trying to make us more energy-efficient, reduce our carbon footprint and be more responsible and save money for taxpayers.”

The move is part of the town’s larger commitment to energy- efficient, or “green,” technology. Town officials spent $1.4 million to install the white-light LED fixtures throughout town parks, and Baldwin Park received the most upgrades of all. The change is expected to save taxpayers about $200,000 per year.

“These rebates are not only available to municipalities,” Gillen added. “They’re also available for individual homeowners and small businesses.”

Mike Voltz, the director of energy efficiency and renewables at PSEG Long Island, said he encourages all of his customers to replace any incandescent bulbs they have with LED ones, which can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe’s or Costco.

“In a residential home, if you had a 60-watt incandescent bulb and you replace it with a 10-watt or even an 8- or 9-watt LED, it’s the same amount of light,” Voltz explained, “so you’re saving six times with the same amount of light, so it’s very energy-efficient.”

PSEG Long Island also offers a service in which representatives visit residents’ homes and review the light fixtures, the appliances, the wall insulation and recommend how to save energy, Voltz said. To inquire about a free home energy audit, he encouraged residents to visit www.psegliny.com.

“The LED lighting that was installed [at Baldwin Park] — it lasts much longer, it’s a white light, it’s safer, it’s cleaner, and it’s dark sky compliant, so all the light is focused downward rather than up into the sky creating light pollution, so it really focuses the light where it needs to go,” Voltz said, adding that the new bulbs are about 100 watts each.

“The whole Town of Hempstead — the largest town in the United States of America — is almost all LED,” said Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby. “And not only that, it looks great, they’re able to see better. Some of us are getting older, so our sight isn’t as good as it used to be, but in addition to that, they feel a little safer because there’s more lights in the streets.”

Officials said the town has upgraded about 2,700 municipal lighting fixtures at more than a dozen town parks to cut down on energy costs and reduce demand from power plants, which decreases greenhouse gas emissions. LED lights cut the amount of energy used by at least 75 percent and last about 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Gillen said the funds from the rebate check would pay for more energy-efficient LED fixtures around town, and that she aimed to replace the large lights at the baseball fields as well.

“The Town Board embraced the use of LED lighting technology to provide fiscal benefits to our residents, and the positive environmental impact resulted in significant energy savings,” Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney said in a statement. “Hempstead Town is committed to sustainability and will continue to promote renewable energy throughout the town.”