The most common kind of lighting right now, the backbone for most Oklahoma roadways and probably national roadways, is the high pressure sodium light. High pressure sodium lights last four to five years and are more energy efficient than the mercury vapor lights.
Another newer lighting technology uses metal halide lights.
“That’s what we have in the downtown area,” Lombardo said. “People like that because it’s a more natural light and colors at night resemble what you would see during the day. The problem with the metal halide is that it’s less efficient.”
The metal halide lamps burn out after 18 months to two years, resulting in higher maintenance costs.
LED is the wave of the future, Lombardo said.
“We identified to council that we wanted to try this technology,” he said. “We cannot do this apart from OG&E and OEC because they maintain all of the lighting in the city of Norman.”
The new LED lights along Main Street are not the standard street light.
“It’s new for them and for us,” he said. “We are working in partnership and doing this as a pilot project. They will assess the maintenance requirements over time and the energy consumption over time.”
The pilot project could result in an LED option being adopted by OG&E across the state with a Corporation Commission approved rate for the lights.
The new lights also limit light spillover.
“If you look at the Main Street project, even though it’s LED technology, it’s also full cut off,” Lombardo said.
Less light comes off the back side of the fixture where that light could bleed into residential areas and the backyards of homes.
The LED lights are estimated to last 8-10 years.
“It’s not so much the LED that burns out, but other electronic devices in the light,” Lombardo said. “The lab testing shows that these lights can last up to 8 or 10 years. There will be some that don’t last that long but some that could last longer.”