Wichita Falls city councilors will soon discuss lighting upgrades, that city leaders say will save taxpayers money, down the road. They have already upgraded thousands of lights, now they are looking to councilors to sign off on doing the same all across the city.
Wichita Falls started converting to LED lights back in 2010 and since more than 2,500 lights have been installed. The city council will soon meet to discuss changing all lights over to LEDs.
“We still have 5,796 that we need to replace. And it’s time-consuming but it’s well worth it, the citizens like it and over the long haul it saves us money,” said Traffic Engineering Superintendent Larry Wilkinson.
Wilkinson also says the lights brighten the way, far better than traditional lighting.
“It’s a better product, last longer and you can see better when you go down the highway,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson says the city could get a lot of years out of the upgrade.
“Lifespan on them as far as the fixture itself we should get 20 years out of the fixture you know barring catastrophe, storms, the warranty on a LED is 10 years,” Wilkinson said.
The Lantern House owners have switched their parking lot to LED and are glad they did.
“We used to have and I’ll be honest with you not sure if it was mercury vapor or if it was high-pressure sodium but we changed it over to LED we now basically leave it running 24/7,” said Lantern House employee Mike Ayers.
Ayers says they are now using a 10th of the amount of energy as before and the upgrade also provided a new level of security on the lot.
“It used to be dark on our back end and going back into the parking lot that’s behind us and anybody could have just come back there and park and you wouldn’t even have noticed them. It is now light enough where you can see any vehicle that is parked in our parking lot at night,” Ayers said.
Now, if the city approves going to all LED lights, Wilkinson says the complete conversion will take time.
“We are looking at a 4-5 month period for installation. And that will be something the city will be able to easily pay off in a 10 year period and see good saving from,” Wilkinson said.
That costs savings could add up quickly when you consider there are more than 8,000 fixtures lighting the way across the city.
Councilors are slated to discuss the lighting switch at their upcoming meeting on Tuesday.