Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Incremental Improvements

 New LED light Amherst Rt 9/South Pleasant intersection

This spring in an ambitious energy efficiency crusade, Amherst will relamp all streetlights to these more  efficient, longer lasting LED bulbs using a $300,000 state Green Energy grant.

This streetlight at the gateway to town center is already done.  It was decapitated in the Snowmageddon storm last year and replaced with the new and improved LED model, which I'm told are a tad trickier to install properly, but then are pretty much maintenance free.

Speaking of Snowmageddon, work continues on the $85,000 generator at Town Hall which will allow the building to become another Emergency Operations Command.  During the Halloween storm of the century power went out in almost all of Amherst and since the emitters run off the streetlights the WiFi also went down (as did 911 communication).

 New generator behind Town Hall

The generator, which cost $39,000, arrived a couple weeks ago and now needs to be installed -- which will also cost close to an additional $39,000.  Last year Amherst Town Meeting approved $85,000 in capital expenditures for the project.

 Fiber Arts Building, downtown Amherst

Amherst College, our #1 property owner, is in a full court press for construction.  Here working on the old Fiber Arts Building in the downtown, which will be used for office space.


Walter Graff said...

And in only a year the LED traffic lights will slowly but surely start losing circuits and as a result arrays of LEDS in each light's matrix. A very common problem for LED fixtures as can be witnessed wherever they are installed. Just a few months ago new LED fixtures were put on Route 9 in North Amherst and already each lamp has many LEDs out. LEDs do last a long time, but the electronics they are included in are very sensitive to the elements and don't. Expensive to buy and expensive to replace.

Walter Graff said...

And let's not forget how dangerous LED traffic lights have become for communities like ours that have winter. There have been many accidents including numerous deaths from the use of LED traffic lights. Incandescent lights burn hot so melt snow. But LED lights burn cool so snow easily fills the cavity of a lamp and does not melt making LED traffic lights invisible in windblown snow conditions. Bottom line, if you remember a traffic light there but don't see it, it's probably still there so be careful.

Tom McBride said...

I think we all felt burned after the Halloween storm and I think the reaction is a bit much. All this stuff is expensive. I assume the fire and police stations have generators and in my opinion that about all we need. I wasn't happy about living in the cold for a week, but I survived, and part of the time, did what others did, and stayed with friends who had power.

Walter Graff said...

But Tom, what would Amherst do without free downtown internet after a major storm where no one can get downtown anyway. :)

Yes it sure is a waste. Luckily most of the waste comes in the form of federal grants, programs for "energy efficiency", etc. Over reaction to a single storm for sure.

I drove from NYC to the area that day both CT roads and Mass roads were closed. It was quiet driving with only a few other trucks and cars on the road. Sort of eerie.

One need not buy a whole house generator if interested in having emergency power for such occasions but a 3k watt generator can keep a fridge going along with DirecTV (if you have it) and a heater plus a few lights. For a few hundred bucks it's good to have in some of the areas around here where electricity is not always reliable.

Walter Graff said...

I would imagine that Kohler 80REZGD generator you show in picture and quote at $39k must have included the cost to ship and mount it cause to buy one costs far less than $39k. Now another $39k to run the lines inside along with the switch box. Quite a profit for the electrician that gets it.

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