The last of the LED lights in Homewood are expected to be installed by the end of the year thanks to a grant from Commonwealth Edison that provided funds to purchase new bulbs.
The village board, at its Nov. 14 meeting, approved the purchase of the last 145 LED lights from Helsel-Jepperson Electrical of Chicago Heights for $36,640.05. The ComEd grant will pay for $25,812 in LED bulbs. Homewood had $28,000 budgeted for the street light project but will only need to spend $10,828.
“It uses 30 to 40 percent less power, less electric consumption,” Homewood Utility Supervisor Harry Hammock said. “They don’t wear out. Usually, they have a life that is four or five times the length of a high-pressure sodium bulb.”
The new lamps will have a life expectancy of around 10 years. Hammock said the village has only had three go bad in the last 10 years.
The other advantage to LED lights is they have “black sky technology,” meaning they lose no light —and thus no wasted power— going upward. The light is funneled in such a way that it all is directed at the street.
“You’ll see ballparks where the whole skyline above is lit up. When you take a high-pressure sodium bulb and put it in a street light, about 25 to 50 percent of that light travels upward so the skyline is being lit up above that,” Hammock said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen any cars driving up above the street lights but I never have.”
The village began gradually replacing sodium street lamps with LEDs in 2004. The village first replaced the lights on 175th Street from Halsted Street to Ashland Avenue. Hammock said Homewood was the first town in the area to do so.
There are approximately 640 village-owned lights and nearly 500 were converted before this year. Some lights in the village are owned by ComEd, which is also in the process of the converting to LED.
The conditions of the grant require the village to have the new lights installed and all of the subsequent paperwork finished by Dec. 31, Hammock said. ComEd didn’t make the grant known until June, putting a serious rush on the work.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought we’d be going right up until the last minute,” Hammock said.
The remaining 145 lights are located in groups all over the village. Hammock said Homewood will look to borrow a second utility truck from a nearby town to finish the work on time.