Sep 30 2011 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
HOW much does it save council chiefs when they change a lightbulb?
Quite a lot, apparently.
For bosses at South Ayrshire reckon they can shave thousands from their spending by using more energy efficient street lights.
A trial project in Ayr’s Holmston Road has revealed that dimming the lights in the small hours can bring big cash rewards.
And council top brass now want to implement their scheme across the region.
The Holmston Road project saw lights being dimmed during the night in a bid to save energy.
Variable 140 watt metal halide lights replaced 250 watt high pressure sodium lamps – with startling results.
The new lights were then dimmed between midnight and 6am during winter and between 1am and dawn during summer.
The council learned they would save an average of £3200 running the new lights on Holmston Road every year, based on current energy prices.
Councillor Peter Convery, spokesman for sustainability and the environment, said: “South Ayrshire Council has 20,000 street lights and changes in bulb manufacture and technology mean we can vary light levels on streets at different times, resulting in substantial cash savings.
“Installing variable street lighting makes sense at a number of levels.
“Not only can we save sizeable sums of money, we can also make a positive contribution to the environment by dramatically reducing the amount of energy we use.
“In addition, the council’s street lighting energy consumption has been increasing as a result of new housing and commercial developments and we also need to replace a number of sub-standard lights in urban areas.
“Our figures show the expense of installing the variable lighting can be recouped by the savings we make on energy use over five years or sooner and, once paid for, the lights will go on saving the council money well into the future.
“We consulted with the Masonhill, Forehill and Holmston community councils before the trial on Holmston Road and no concerns were expressed.
“After the trial we sent a questionnaire to 100 local residents, living near the new lights and almost all respondents were positive about the initiative.”
The council now plans to replace the sodium lighting on 25 streets in Ayr, Dundonald, Prestwick and Troon and further trials are scheduled for Barrhill, Troon, Prestwick and Annbank.