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Affinity LED has partnered with Verizon to convert Bristol’s LED fixtures

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The future is looking bright in Bristol! Another exciting development in Bristol’s commitment to modernize its infrastructure is about to commence. Affinity LED Lighting out of Dover, NH will start installation soon with the conversion of Bristol’s 200+ streetlights to fully-networked LED fixtures.

“We will see multiple benefits from this lighting conversion”, says Bristol Town Administrator, Nik Coates. “Not only will Bristol have improved lighting on our roadways, we’ll have the ability to control our street lighting with dimming and scheduling and monitor that all lights are properly functioning, all while reducing our annual spending for street lighting by more than 50% from the Town’s current annual Eversource tariff costs.”

The lighting company will provide complete turnkey management of the project, as they have in more than 90 communities throughout New England, as well as all of NHDOT’s highways and turnpikes. Affinity LED will light the Town with its American-Built street lighting, locally assembled by U.S. Veterans in the Washington Street Mill, one of Dover’s oldest manufacturing mills. “We’re excited to support Bristol to reduce its energy and lighting maintenance costs, while improving the quality of light and lowering the Town’s carbon footprint, all that while building products locally right here in New Hampshire. We founded our company on this belief, that Doing Well and Doing Good are not mutually exclusive ideas,” says Steve Lieber, the company’s President and Founder.

Affinity LED has partnered with Verizon to convert Bristol’s LED fixtures into sensor-equipped smart devices that capture and transmit data in near real time. The town will gain control to enable remote operation and control of its street lights, with real-time notifications to know when a light goes out, helping residents and visitors feel secure in their surroundings.

Southport to get new LED Street Lighting before the end of year

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Southport Select Chair Gerry Gamage has announced, a contract has been signed with Affinity LED Light LLC of Dover, New Hampshire, to convert the island’s 119 Central Maine Power street light fixtures to “Smart Ready LED street lighting.”

“This is a great move for the town of Southport,” said Gamage. “We currently lease the lights from CMP and pay about $18,000 per year to them. The project will cost us approximately $50,000 but will save us a little under $17,000 per year. Over a 10-year period, that means the town will be saving nearly $170,000.”

According to Affinity’s estimates, Southport’s current street lighting energy consumption will be down by just under 75% and CO2 emissions will go down by just under 25 tons per year. “It’s an exciting move,” said Gamage, who emphasized that because of the future annual savings, the cost of conversion should be paid off within three years.

Across the island, the arms and cobra heads on all the lights will be replaced, but the poles will remain. Gamage said work should begin in the fall and be done “before the snow falls.”

Waterville installing 1,492 new LED streetlights citywide

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Waterville installing 1,492 new LED streetlights citywide

Waterville officials expect the city will save $250,000 annually, or about 75% of its annual energy cost, with the new lights.

WATERVILLE — The city expects to save about $250,000 annually in energy costs after 1,492 LED streetlights are installed throughout the city in the next six to eight weeks.

Wiswell Electric, of Clinton, is installing the lights, manufactured by and purchased from Affinity LED Lighting, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, according to Waterville Public Works Director Mark Turner.

“We’re converting the old sodium high pressure streetlights with new, high efficiency LED units, or light emitting diodes,” he said. “We’re going to go from a budget of $300,000 a year down to about $60,000 or $70,000.”

He said the city will save about 75% of its annual energy cost.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Turner said. “We’re already seeing it in the fact that we don’t have to pay lease fees anymore.”

City Manager Michael Roy said Thursday that Waterville is not the first community converting to LED lighting, but the city is in the early wave of those making the important capital investment up front for long-term savings.

“I’m very pleased that the city council found a way to fund that up-front expense because it will be a real help in our budget going forward,” he said.

The council voted May 7  and 21 to approve the $480,089 contract for the lighting project. The council also added $119,000 to that cost as part of a separate resolution because the city purchased the light fixtures from Central Maine Power Co.

The city had been leasing the lights from CMP at an average cost of $15 per light per month in energy and lease fees, according to Turner.

“CMP and/or the phone company still own the poles and arms and connections, but the fixtures themselves we’ll own, so we don’t have to pay a monthly lease fee,” he said.

Turner said crews have been working on roads between Main and North streets. Wiswell has completed installations on Sanger, Elmwood, Boutelle and Roosevelt avenues, as well as Johnson Heights.

Turner walked through that area Wednesday evening and said he was impressed with how many lights have been replaced so far.

“They look nice,” he said. “They had to stop on Tuesday because of the weather. They can do 50 or 60 lights a day. They’re moving right along.”

The LED lighting is very bright directly under a fixture, but it does not overspread an area like some other lights do, according to Turner.

“It’s more direct lighting,” he said. “It has a more uniform distribution of light. It doesn’t overspread and encroach on people’s private property and homes.”

He said crews will continue working their way north on roads off Main Street and will do Main later, as that area is very busy with traffic.

“They’re doing it in a certain sequence,” he said.

LED lighting elements are designed to last longer, resulting in lower and less frequent maintenance costs, according to Turner.

City officials estimate the payback period for the light project expenditure to be 2.5 years.

Communities including Augusta and Gardiner have undertaken similar projects, he said.

Boothbay considering upgrading all 179 street lights to LEDs

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A bright idea by Boothbay Town Manager Dan Bryer may save taxpayers money and reduce the town’s carbon footprint. Bryer saw that several southern and central Maine and New Hampshire towns were switching their old, sodium-based street lights to more modern, light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This month, Bryer contacted Affinity Lighting of Dover, New Hampshire about Boothbay following suit in upgrading it street lights.

On its website, Affinity boasts of saving clients nearly $6 million in electrical costs and reducing over 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide. On Dec. 11, Affinity Lighting’s founder and president, Steve Lieber, described his company’s service during the Boothbay selectmen’s meeting. Lieber explained how the town could reduce its electric bill for 179 street lights by switching to more technologically advanced bulbs.

Affinity provides two services for LED upgrades. One involves smart technology which allows for streets lights to communicate with one another by reducing lighting in more illuminated sections by providing more illumination to dark areas within the network. This service requires a $1,500 annual fee to Verizon for managing the network.

Based on the cost savings, Lieber told selectmen they would recoup their installation costs, regardless of whether they opted for smart technology or not, within three years. “This is going to save you $24,000 annually, and over the lights’ 20-year lifetime, it saves you $500,000, reduces your power consumption by 78%, and carbon dioxide emissions by 47 tons per year,” he said.

Selectmen want more information before making a decision to lease or buy the LED system. But the presentation left a strong impression on Selectman Dale Harmon. “I’m excited about this. They are great lights with great savings,” he said.

In other action, selectmen approved Central Maine Power’s pole permit request for a house lot on the corner of Pension Ridge and Bryer’s Neck Road. Selectmen also deeded back a right of way to Maine Department of Transportation. In 2017, the department provided Boothbay with a right of way easement for the Route 27 improvement plan. Under an agreement, Boothbay is required to return the right of way upon project completion.

Selectmen meet next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 in the municipal building’s conference room.

The Town of Kittery LED Street Light Conversion Begins – October Update

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October 24, 2019 Update:

The LED Streetlight Conversion is nearing completion.  Affinity LED is working to install the remaining fixtures this week and will wrap up the installation by next week.

The Town of Kittery will be hosting an event to celebrate the project on November 2, 2019 at 4:30 PM at John Paul Jones Park.  The public is invited to join the celebration to commemorate this exciting project.

September 17, 2019 Update:

Affinity LED Light has been working with the state electrical inspector in preparation for the LED Street Light Conversion project and they ready to begin the installation of the LED fixtures.  Installation of the LED fixtures throughout the Town of Kittery, is expected to begin by September 30, 2019, and take approximately 3 weeks to complete.

The Town of Kittery will soon begin the installation of new Light Emitting Diode (LED) street lights.  Affinity LED Light was awarded the project and will be converting approximately 640 street light fixtures to LED.

LED lights have a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Energy Efficiency: LED lights can reduce electricity consumption for street lighting by 75%.
  • Better Lighting: LED lighting allows people to see colors more clearly, which makes it easier to recognize people and objects on the streets and sidewalks.
  • Reducing Glare: It is easy to aim LEDs to shine light where it should be and to avoid shining it where it is unwanted.
  • Longer Lifespan: LED lighting has an extremely long life which reduces overall maintenance costs.

With the installation of the LED streetlights, the Town of Kittery will also benefit from a reduction in costs and CO2 emissions:

  • Annual cost savings of $92,771
  • Annual energy savings of 196,318 (kwh)

The Town of Kittery is excited to be implementing this eco-focused initiative.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact Town Manager, Kendra Amaral at 207-475-1329 or [email protected].

Fairfield’s Town Council discusses LED street light conversion

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FAIRFIELD — The Town Council discussed the possibility of moving forward with a project to convert the town’s streetlights to LED lights at Wednesday evening’s meeting.

According to estimates provided by Steve Lieber, president of Affinity LED Lighting, the projected cost of converting the town’s 330 streetlights comes out to roughly $207,060 for installation, equipment and network costs. By the same token, the investment would save Fairfield about $59,000 annually because of the low energy usage and minimal maintenance LED lights require.

“Not only is converting to LED lights good for the environment, but it’s also fiscally responsible,” Lieber said. “It’s good for the community.”

Lieber claimed that the benefits of LED streetlights go past just financial and environmental advantages. According to him, the bulbs and the angles of the lights provide improved clarity and brightness, allowing for better safety conditions on the roadways and sidewalks, despite producing fewer lumens than traditional street lights. Additionally, Affinity’s streetlights are paired with a network operating system that allows the lights to be monitored and for officials to be notified when or if any malfunctions arise.

“The central management system can be brought up on a computer and displays a detailed map of the streetlights,” Lieber said. “The network sets off alarms if a streetlight goes out. That way it can be immediately addressed.”

Affinity LED Lighting is based in Dover, New Hampshire, and has worked with 38 communities on commercial, municipal and streetlight conversion projects. If Fairfield decides to move forward with conversion, it will become one of the eight to 10 communities in Maine that have opted to switch to LED streetlights. As far back as December, central Maine communities such as GardinerVassalboro and Augusta all approved funds for their own streetlight conversion projects.

Because one council member was absent from Wednesday night’s meeting, the decision to approve or reject the plan for streetlight conversion has been delayed until the next Town Council meeting, scheduled for July 10.

$1.1 million in funds approved to buy Augusta streetlights from CMP, replace with more efficient lights

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AUGUSTA — City councilors have approved a $1.1 million lease-purchase deal that will provide funding to buy the roughly 2,200 streetlights that light up city streets and other areas from Central Maine Power and replace them with more efficient LED lights.

The move, according to City Manager William Bridgeo, is expected to save the city $168,000 a year during the 10-year period when the city will repay TD Bank, provider of the lease-purchase agreement, for the $1.1 million needed to buy and install the lights, and more than $300,000 a year after the lights are paid off.

Bridgeo said the light takeover and upgrade also will result in the city using about 600,000 fewer kilowatt hours a year because of the increased efficiency of the lights. The light emitted will be of better quality and less likely to create light pollution, and allow for faster repair when a light goes out.

“So the residents of our community are going to benefit from the city being greener, that we’re saving a lot of money and the service is going to be better in the quality of the lighting, and in the rather instantaneous response when streetlights are out,” Bridgeo told councilors before their vote on the financing plan. “So it’s a great project and this is the last piece that needs to be completed.”

Councilors voted unanimously, and without comment, in favor of the funding plan Thursday.

Bridgeo said eight to 10 Maine communities already have started making the move from leasing streetlights from utility providers CMP and Emera, and several in central Maine are considering or working on joining Augusta in contracting with Affinity LED Lighting, a New Hampshire company that was the low bidder to provide the lights to Augusta, to make the move.

“We invited several communities in the area who are piggy-backing on our contract,” Bridgeo said. “Gardiner has expressed interest in doing that, Waterville has, Vassalboro, Hallowell. … So we may be spurring more activity right around here. We’re fortunate we have the in-house resources, as a larger community, to manage a project like this. Affinity said they’ll honor our prices in those communities, so they’ll know what they’re getting was part of a competitive (bidding) process. I expect we’ll start seeing a lot more of it as time goes on.”

Ralph St. Pierre, Augusta’s finance director and assistant city manager, estimates the proposal would save the city about $168,000 a year for 10 years while the money used to buy the lights is paid back. Once the lights and fixtures are paid for — after the initial 10-year period — St. Pierre estimates the city would save $306,000 a year for as long as the lights last.

The LED fixtures have a projected lifespan of about 28 years.

The change was made possible by state legislation and Public Utilities Commission rules changes passed in 2016 that requires CMP to sell streetlights to municipalities where they are located for the net book value of the fixtures. Before the law change, the utility company was under no obligation to sell its streetlights to municipalities. It charged a rate for the electricity used by the lights approved by the PUC, but it also could charge communities a fee to rent the light fixtures.

Augusta was paying CMP $223,000 a year to lease streetlights, plus $39,000 in delivery fees. Buying the old fixtures, some of which are 50 years old, cost the city about $206,000.

Bridgeo said installation should start in the next two weeks and should be complete in mid-April. Randolph-based Coutts Brothers has a contract to install the lights.

Most of the new streetlights will be equipped with Wi-Fi devices that will allow them to communicate with each other and report to a network system that will be based at Augusta City Center. That means when a light stops working, officials will know about it immediately.

Bridgeo said the city thus will be able to repair broken lights instantaneously.

He said streetlights in outlying areas of the city won’t be equipped with the Wi-Fi technology, because they are too far apart to communicate with each other.

They also are expected to limit the amount of light escaping up into the sky, which Steve Lieber, founder and owner of Affinity, said could allow residents to see stars they couldn’t see before. Lieber also has told city officials that all members of Affinity’s crew of assembly technicians are U.S. military veterans.


Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]
Twitter: @kedwardskj

Gardiner moves forward with LED conversion

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GARDINER — As early as perhaps February, the traditional streetlights in Gardiner and surrounding towns could be swapped out for a version that uses less electricity, cuts down on light pollution and will take a smaller bite from municipal budgets.

Two companies have signaled interest in doing the work — Affinity LED Lighting of Dover, New Hampshire; and RealTerm Energy, with offices in Annapolis, Maryland, and Montreal.

Both companies are in the business of replacing the streetlights municipalities lease from their electric utility — in this area, it’s Central Maine Power Company — with fixtures that use light-emitting diode technology.

“Economically, it makes a lot of sense,” Gardiner Mayor Thom Harnett said.

Gardiner officials are now considering a proposal from Affinity LED that would replace the city’s 494 fixtures with LED versions equipped with smart technology that would allow them to be dimmed or brightened and would send status notifications.

To pay for it, they are considering issuing short-term bonds for about $294,000. The measure is scheduled for a public hearing and first reading at the Dec. 19 Gardiner City Council meeting. A second public hearing and final reading is scheduled for the Jan. 9, 2019, meeting.

In taking this path, Gardiner officials are following the path marked out by Augusta officials, who earlier this year sent out requests to identify a company to convert the lights in the state’s capital city and selected Affinity LED.

Christine Landes, Gardiner city manager, said other communities in the area have been invited to tag along at the same pricing.

Under Affinity LED’s proposal, using the LED fixtures is expected to cut the $86,020 that Gardiner pays annually for its lights to $10,078.

Steve Lieber, Affinity LED’s president, said before installation takes place, his company will complete a field audit to make sure all the lights have been inventoried and that it matches CMP’s inventory.

“There’s the pole and the mast arm that sticks out from the pole,” Lieber said. “The light is the cobra head. We’ll remove the cobra head and replace with an LED luminaire.”

Because the lights have been unmetered, Lieber said, municipalities are billed on the assumption of dark hours. In the future, bills will be based on actual electricity consumption. And since the lights come equipped with smart technology, the electric use can be controlled.

“The networked lighting allows for adjusting and being conscious of energy consumption,” Lieber said.

As demand for light changes throughout the day, the level of light can change as well, he said. A commuter corridor with high traffic in the early evening may require more light; when traffic dissipates later in the evening, the lights could be dimmed.

The system can also signal when a power surge or power drop has occurred.

And because of the construction of the light and its optics, the LED fixtures are Dark Sky compliant, which means that sky glow that exists over cities at night is reduced.

Scott Tilton, Chelsea town manager, said he’s been looking at street light conversions for several years.

“It’s been a long time to get the other towns to make a decision,” Tilton said.

In October, officials from Chelsea, Farmingdale, Vassalboro, Belgrade, Randolph, Pittston and Gardiner met in the Randolph Town Office to hear a presentation from officials from RealTerm.

Town officials say they have not yet seen a proposal from RealTerm, but they can see the benefits of conversion.

For Chelsea, with its 45 streetlights, the savings could amount to about $2,100 annually, which is about a third of its streetlight budget.

Across the Kennebec River in Hallowell, City Manager Nate Rudy said officials are waiting for information from CMP so an analysis can be completed.

In an email, Rudy wrote that CMP has been swamped with requests. When the information is returned, he said, he’ll forward it to the City Council’s Finance Committee for consideration.

Once the conversion is paid for, the city could save more than $1 million over the next two decades. That’s about 20 percent of the city’s annual spending plan.

Because the term of the bonds is four years, Gardiner would not see benefit from the conversion until the fifth year.

Landes said it’s too early to know how city officials would use the savings because priorities change from year to year, but it’s clear that they would be seeking that much less from taxpayers.

“It’s a generic number,” she said. “They can’t totally forecast it out. It’s a snapshot in time.”

It can’t take into consideration changes in CMPs rate structure, for instance.

The conversion to the LED fixtures offers opportunities other than savings.

Because Gardiner officials are expected to choose the networked lights, those lights will have the capability to support citywide internet at some point.

“What the technology brings, I don’t know,” Landes said. “The future is smart cities and reducing the carbon footprint.”

That’s not lost on Affinity LED, which hosts a running tally of money saved and carbon dioxide emissions reduced on its website.

The fixtures are assembled at its headquarters in Dover by veterans, and they are packed out to installation sites in reusable totes, eliminating the need for corrugated cardboard that ends up as solid waste in landfills.

“That’s definitely something we all need to be thinking about given the climate change reportthat just came out,” District 2 Gardiner City Councilor Pat Hart said. Hart will be sworn-in in January as Gardiner’s next mayor.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment, issued at the end of November, details the impacts and risks of climate change to the United States.

“This community has been bold enough to try things,” Hart said. “We have to keep the long-term costs and benefits in mind.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

A brighter idea that saves money

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Augusta officials are planning to take control of their streetlights.

ROCHESTER — As part of its work to help customers better manage their energy, an Eversource partnership with the Rochester School District is nearing completion of a district-wide effort to upgrade more than 5,700 lighting fixtures — all assembled by U.S. Veterans with Affinity LED Lighting.

The conversion to LED lighting will save the school district about $72,000 a year and reduce annual carbon emissions by 309 tons, the equivalent of taking 70 cars off the road each year. The upgrades are part of the Rochester School District’s ongoing efforts to create a learning environment that is modern, comfortable and energy efficient, said a spokesman.

“This project is just one of the many ways we are connecting municipalities and schools in New Hampshire to solutions for savings,” said Eversource NH Energy Efficiency spokesperson Kate Peters. “By helping our customers to integrate new technologies that deliver significant energy savings, we are helping our customers to reduce their costs and to be better environmental stewards.”

The district-wide lighting system installation will be completed in early 2019. The new units require less maintenance, use up to 75 percent less electricity and are controlled through an application that takes advantage of available daylight and occupancy to offset the amount of electric lighting needed.

A recent tour of the upgrades at Spaulding High School included a lighting assembly demonstration with Affinity LED Lighting’s Founder and CEO Steve Lieber, project manager Dana Caruso and Senior Technician Mike Snay, a U.S. Navy veteran. The demo highlighted innovative, reusable packing that contributes to the overall sustainability of the project.

“These changes will have a lasting, tangible impact and help us reduce our carbon footprint and move toward increased sustainability in all our schools,” said Rochester School District Superintendent Michael Hopkins. “Energy efficiency is vital to keeping costs down and freeing up capital, which allows us to reinvest in programs that directly benefit our students.”

Rochester schools upgrade 6,000 light fixtures to LED

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ROCHESTER — The Rochester School District is upgrading close to 6,000 lighting fixtures as it converts to LED lighting.

Director of Facilities David Totty said the move will save the district about $120,000 a year in electricity bills and dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

“It’s like we retired 112 gas burning vehicles from the roadways,” Totty said of the emissions decrease associated with using less electricity.

Totty said he has been working to get the district to make the switch for years and now the price of LED technology makes both environmental and economic sense.

Installing LED lighting means the district will no longer be using fluorescent bulbs. Totty calls fluorescent bulbs an “environmental nightmare” because they contain mercury.

“Getting rid of the mercury is another great benefit to LED lighting,” Totty said.

The switch will cost $1.1 million, which is offset by a rebate program from Eversource in the amount of $400,000. All the lighting fixtures are being assembled by U.S. military veterans who work for Affinity LED Lighting in Dover.

Mark Toussaint, an energy efficiency consultant at Eversource, said they have done numerous LED conversions throughout the state for homeowners, businesses and municipalities.

Rochester has also retro-fitted municipally owned streetlights using the NHSaves rebate program which is run by Eversource, Liberty Utilities, New Hampshire Electric Co-op and Unitil, Toussaint said.

“We’re hoping to help customers do the things they need to do with only the amount of power they need to consume,” Toussaint said.

The lighting conversion at Spaulding High School is nearly complete, and crews were replacing an average of 230 bulbs a night at Rochester Middle School last week.

All buildings affected by the conversion should be finished in early 2019.