Dobbs Ferry Jim Dunn likes talking about street lights like war historians like talking about battles or librarians about books.
There are some good lights, some great lights and others that are just terrible and need to be replaced—that's how Dunn feels about the old incandescent lights that line most of the village's small streets.
In recent years, Dunn has changed about half of the village's street lights from incandescents to high-pressure sodium bulbs, which he said has about a 12-year payback on its price and cost of installation.
But now he's gotten even more ambitious; Dunn wants Dobbs Ferry to be illuminated strictly by the newest technology—LED lights, which have a 60 percent energy savings over incandescent lights (or 4.5-year payback time after installation).
During the summer, Dunn—with the help of Dobbs Ferry's energy task force—convinced the board to invest in 300 LED lights.
"I was able to work out a deal in which we would get each light at a price of $348 per unit—which is significantly lower than the regular cost—for up to 1,000 lights," Dunn said.
Since Dobbs Ferry bought only 300, Dunn became the liaison for other communities to reap the benefits of his bargaining.
Hastings recently took advantage of Dunn's deal, purchasing 70 lights to be used in five areas throughout the village.
"We expect the payback within three years," said Hastings' Village Manager Fran Frobel. "The cost was about $26,000 total. But the amount we save annually on our energy bills should be huge."
Frobel said he planned to track the wattage used and its associated cost on the village's electric bills and report the numbers back to the board regularly.
Since Dobbs Ferry bought 300 LED units and Hastings bought 70 using Dunn's deal there are still 630 up for grabs at Dunn's reduced price.
"I've already talked to people from White Plains and North Salem," Dunn said. "So far, neither have committed."
Besides using less energy, Dunn said LED lights provide more direct (downward) illumination, which will provide better coverage of streets and less light pollution for the streetlights' neighbors.
"They should make the sky appear darker and the streets brighter," Dunn said.
In Dobbs Ferry, high-trafficked areas like: Main Street, Broadway, Ashford, Northfield and Washington Avenues already have the high-pressure sodium lights. So the DPW will begin replacing the incandescents on side streets first.
"I'd like to have them all up by Spring," he said. Dobbs Ferry's traffic lights already have LED bulbs, and since these newer lights burn out less frequently, Dunn said there have been fewer accidents.
In Hastings, Frobel said he had decided to concentrate the installation of their 70 LEDs to: Maple Avenue, Villard Avenue, Mount Hope Blvd., Ravensdale Road and High Street.
According to Dunn, although he's ahead of the curve, this change is something that will have to happen anyway.
"Beginning in 2013 incandescent lights will be illegal to sell as streetlights anyway," Dunn said. "This is something I've wanted for Dobbs Ferry; but soon it will be necessary. I'm just glad we got a good deal."
If your municipality wants to use Dobbs Ferry's deal to purchase Hadco lights, call Dunn at (914) 693-5506.